It was only half a season, but Andre Drummond had a rough stint with the Lakers in 2021.
After being bought out by the Cavaliers, LeBron James helped recruit Drummond to Los Angeles, and with him came expectations. However, Drummond got injured in the first game when Bucks’ big man Brook Lopez stepped on his toe. Drummond missed time, and when he came back he showed flashes of the interior scoring and rebounding the Lakers needed, but he was inconsistent on offense and was often exposed on defense. The Lakers promised him a starting role and minutes when he arrived, creating tension with Marc Gasol. In the 25 games he played in a Laker uniform, Drummond averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a night.
Lakers fans were not shy in letting Drummond know what they thought of his performance.
Asked about it recently, Drummond was honest about the experience.
Andre Drummond on his time with the Lakers:
"You got to be built differently to play for that organization." pic.twitter.com/HqceJwCknM
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) June 3, 2022
“Yeah the Lakers is exactly what you think it is man, you gotta be built differently to play for that organization, you gotta be mentally strong not only on the court but off the court too because there’s so much expectations to being a Laker and putting that purple and gold on because if you ain’t living up to expectations they will let you know you ain’t worthy enough to put on that jersey.”
Playing for the Lakers is not like playing for any other organization — it is both a constant circus around the team and a constant magnifying glass on the players. Los Angeles has a massive and vocal fan base that often brings unreasonable expectations to the table. There are unquestioned perks of being a Laker, but it requires players who can not get caught up in the distractions, can tune out the chatter and focus on the game. Not everyone does that equally well.
Drummond is now in Brooklyn, another team with championship aspirations and a lot of noise and distractions. However, Drummond didn’t walk in the door at the Nets facility with the expectations heaped on him in L.A.