Prior to the signing of Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol missed a lot of time due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. During that time, it was easy to forget that he’s still a good player. Once the Los Angeles Lakers signed Drummond, it was clear that Gasol’s role would be mitigated.
He expressed frustration that he lost his starting job and it seemed possible that he could get bought out. However, Drummond got hurt in his first game with the Lakers, which has opened the door for Gasol. He’s played really well in the last few games and shown why Los Angeles signed him in the first place. Despite the strong play, head coach Frank Vogel made it clear that Drummond is the starter.
“No, we’re going to start Andre. That’s what we signed him here for,” Vogel said after Tuesday’s 110-101 win over the Toronto Raptors. “We need to get [Drummond] a ton of minutes to get him acclimated to our system with only X amount of games before the playoffs, and he’ll be our starter. … [Gasol’s performance] doesn’t change that.”
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Gasol Talks New Role
There’s no doubt Gasol has looked really good lately. He just put up a season-high 13 points against the Raptors. He’s also showing a lot more on defense. Unfortunately for him, it’s too little too late to keep the starting job. He understands that now and he’s going to accept whatever he can get.
“I’ll stay ready. I’m going to tell you this: I’m fully committed to the team. I’ll stay ready when my number is called,” Gasol said. “I understand we have to get Andre acclimated to what we’re trying to do. We have to get back our two main guys – Bron and AD whenever they come back – and they have to get that group going and get some chemistry going with the first unit for them. I’ll be ready no matter what happens. No matter if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, if it’s whatever position. If it’s some nights, I might not play. But I’ll stay ready, no matter what. I made that commitment.
“It’s been a process for me to reassess this situation a little bit, but like I said, I’m fully committed to this team. So, whatever is thrown at me, I’ll be ready.”
The Lakers have a great team when healthy so Gasol could be getting another championship ring at the end of the season. The situation could be a lot worse for him. Though his role will be diminished significantly, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Vogel figured some creative ways to get him involved.
Drummond Could Return Soon
Drummond’s Lakers debut wasn’t exactly great. He only scored four points and got injured. Los Angeles really needs him to be an impact player, but the only way that’s going to happen is if he starts getting on the court. According to Vogel, that should be soon.
“We’re hopeful he plays against Miami,” Vogel said of Drummond possibly playing in the game against the Miami Heat on Thursday.
The Heat have one of the more stacked teams in the NBA. Without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Drummond, things could get ugly. Davis and LeBron won’t be playing, but having Drummond could give them a chance.