Marc Gasol could have just turned in his best effort since joining the Los Angeles Lakers in Tuesday’s 110-101 win on the Toronto Raptors, but L.A. trainer Frank Vogel remained resolute: Andre Drummond is your team’s starting centre.
“No, we’re likely to begin Andre. That’s exactly what we signed him here for,” Vogel said. “We need to have [Drummond] a slew of minutes to get him acclimated into our system with only X amount of games before the playoffs, and he’ll be our starter. … [Gasol’s functionality ] doesn’t change that.”
Vogel made his comments after being asked if Gasol’s performance Tuesday gave him reconsider. Gasol had a season-high 13 points and tied his season highs with nine rebounds and four blocks, helping the Lakers build a 34-point lead.
Gasol, who initially balked in a function shift, telling reporters last week that Drummond’s improvement was”a hard pill to swallow,” was fully on board with the concept of making space for the buyout market addition following the Raptors game.
“I will stay ready. I will tell you this: I am fully committed to the group. “I understand we must get Andre acclimated to what we are attempting to do. We have to get back our two chief men — Bron [ LeBron James] and AD [ Anthony Davis] whenever they return — and they must get that group heading and get some chemistry going with the first unit in their opinion. I will be ready no matter what occurs. Regardless of if it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes, even whether it is whatever position. When it’s some nights, then 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 scenario a little bit, but like I said, I’m completely committed to this team.
Drummond has overlooked the Lakers’ previous three games since his debut due to a bruised big toe and torn toenail on his foot. Vogel said Drummond participated in L.A.’s practice in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Monday but nevertheless was undergoing some”tenderness” in his toe before the Toronto game.
“We’re hopeful he plays against Miami,” Vogel said of Drummond, awaiting to the Lakers’ next match on the program, Thursday against the Heat.
Vogel insisted that”all three of those men” — Drummond, Gasol and Montrezl Harrell — which perform center for L.A. will be needed as the team makes its march to the postseason in hopes of protecting its championship.
In terms of Gasol, who has averaged 9.7 points on 60% shooting, 7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 blocks in the past 3 matches which Drummond missed while the Lakers went 2-1, the 36-year-old provided a reminder of what he’s left in the tank.
“You understand, I can make a couple shots. I am able to play in the post. I am able to pass the ball,” he explained. “I will do a few of things quite nicely every now and then.”