Just a couple of days ago, I talked about how LaMarcus Aldridge is joining the Brooklyn Nets, how they are the greatest team in the history of the NBA, and how they are guaranteed to win a championship. Well, after some new developments, I may just have to take back that statement.
I don’t see how the league can get any more unfair. Imagine you’re the Phoenix Suns, a team with two All-Stars who is playing their hearts out to try and get a higher playoff seed, and maybe, just maybe, make it out of the Western Conference.
Then you find out that it’s all for nothing because the team with two All-NBA First Team members just added yet another All-Star. Not only that, he’s the center that they desperately need, as Magic Johnson pointed out. Drummond has led the league in rebounding four times, is a two-time All-Star, and a member of the third team All-NBA. Just when you think a team can’t get even more stacked… they do.
So, are the Brooklyn Nets still the favorites to win the NBA Finals in 2021? Or, do the Lakers have a chance at coming out on top? How will this affect LeBron and others’ legacy?
I already did a blog previewing a Lakers-Nets matchup, but it’s outdated now. The Lakers have acquired an All-Star center, while the Nets have acquired Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. So if we look at it now, seeing the Lakers and the Nets in the finals is very, very possible.
One thing that many LeBron fans will argue about is GOAT status. It’s almost guaranteed that many will say that LeBron never had to play a team this good, and that if he wins the 2021 NBA Finals, he is the GOAT. While this may be the greatest super team ever assembled, the argument isn’t quite that simple. This isn’t the 2007 NBA Finals when LeBron dragged a helpless Cavaliers team to the Finals. No, LeBron has the second best power forward in the NBA (behind Giannis) on his team in Anthony Davis, and one of the best rebounding centers as well in Andre Drummond. Once again, LeBron has formed a big three, something that is now as common as going to McDonalds. Aside from the big three, the Lakers also have former All-Star Marc Gasol, 6th Men of the Year Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder, as well as key contributors who could blossom into stars such as Talen Horton-Tucker and Kyle Kuzma. Both of these teams are well matched and great, especially since the Nets don’t have a ton of depth.
2021 Lakers: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell
2021 Nets: Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Deandre Jordan.
Both teams are pretty well matched, as while some of the Lakers players don’t have the resume of the Nets’ guys, they are young and have lots of potential. The Nets may combine for 41 All-Star appearances, but half of them are out of their primes. Of course, if this was 2015, this would be the most lopsided Finals ever. However, now that’s it 2021, this could be anyone’s game.
Unfortunately for Lakers fans, this move isn’t quite as great as it seems. Andre Drummond is an incredible All-Star center, yes, but there are some red flags that should have gone up when this trade was made.
- So far in his career, Drummond’s incredible stats have meant nothing. Yes, at one point in time he averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds per game, but these stats do not translate into wins. In fact, Drummond has played for two of the worst teams in the NBA (Pistons and Cavaliers), and only made the playoffs twice, both times on the Pistons, both times getting swept in the first round
- Andre Drummond is the worst high-usage offensive player in the entire NBA. Playing for bad teams and getting the ball whenever he calls for it, Drummond’s basketball IQ has worsened, and he has some bad habits of hogging the ball in the paint for too long. Drummond has been shooting 47% from the field this season, which is the worst in his career. Usage percentage is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player when he is on the floor. Drummond’s actual usage percentage is 31%! Not only is this the highest in his career, it is higher than some NBA stars! His usage percentage would be roughly the 13th highest in the NBA right now, behind Zach Lavine, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Nikola Jokic!
- Win Shares is a player statistic which attempts to divvy up credit for team success to the individuals on the team. Andre Drummond’s win shares for this season are 0.7, which is incredibly low! Nikola Jokic leads the NBA in win shares with 10.7, and if you scroll down, down, and further down, you find Andre Drummond sitting at 273rd in the NBA for win shares! Not only are his 0.7 win shares pathetic, his offensive win shares (offensive and defensive win shares are averaged out) is -0.7, and his defensive win shares are 1.4, showing you just how bad his offensive game really is.
So, as you can see, Drummond’s move to the Lakers is not necessarily all the glory everyone thinks it is. On an additional note, Andre Drummond has said that he thinks he is worthy of a max contract, and as LA already has two max contracts in LeBron and AD, I don’t think Drummond will be staying long in LA, as because of the Cavaliers buying out his contract, the Lakers get to pay him peanuts in NBA money.
Of course, even with the advanced stats, we can’t take away the fact that Drummond is an incredible rebounder, and with his four offensive rebounds per game, this will give the Lakers extra possessions and more chances to score.
“The acquisition of Drummond secures them coming out of the West this season.”Stephen A. Smith on First Take discussing Drummond’s move to the Lakers
Will the Lakers or the Nets win the Finals? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!