David Zalubowski/Associated Press
It gives the team some added flexibility with its lineups when healthy and some valuable depth with stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis currently dealing with injuries.
Lakers’ Full Strength Lineup
PG: Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews
SF: LeBron James, Talen Horton-Tucker
PF: Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris
C: Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol
Kyle Kuzma has been in and out of the starting lineup this year but will likely remain there going forward until James returns to full strength. Markieff Morris has also been starting and can stick in this role with Davis unavailable.
Talen Horton-Tucker should continue to see increased minutes off the bench until the squad is back to full strength.
Drummond will be especially valuable in the short term as an upgrade over Marc Gasol, who is averaging 4.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
Though Gasol’s defensive presence shouldn’t be overlooked, Drummond is a much bigger threat with his averages of 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game this year with Cleveland. The two-time All-Star can help generate more offense that is often missing without the team’s two best players.
The latest addition can help weather the storm and keep the Lakers high in the standings.
More importantly, the move also gives Los Angeles more options for the postseason when everyone is healthy.
Even with the NBA moving away from traditional centers, Drummond can bully teams inside while making a major impact on the boards. It could also free Davis to play the 4, where he is most comfortable.
If the matchup dictates, Vogel can always go with smaller lineups as he did during the run to the title last postseason.
It’s a low-risk move that makes the Lakers better and deeper for the playoff run.