NBA regular season

Andre Drummond to start in Lakers debut vs Bucks

Andre Drummond to start in Lakers debut vs Bucks

QUICK IMPACT. Andre Drummond (left) impresses the Lakers right in their first practice.

Photo from LA Lakers

‘He had a million steals in one practice,’ coach Frank Vogel says of new Lakers center Andre Drummond

Newly acquired center Andre Drummond will start in his team debut when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, March 31 (Thursday, April 1, Manila time).

Drummond practiced with the team for the first time on Tuesday. Coach Frank Vogel was impressed with his effort and made the announcement that the 27-year-old would start ahead of Marc Gasol.

“He had a million steals in one practice,” Vogel said of Drummond. “He has exceptional hands in pick-and-roll defense, post defense, pressuring bigs that are trying to facilitate from the top of the key.”

Drummond, a two-time All-Star and four-time NBA rebounding leader, was thrilled to hear he will be in the starting lineup.

“The level of excitement for me is at an all-time high,” Drummond said.

Drummond’s acquisition was finalized Sunday after he received a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and cleared waivers.

He averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 starts for the Cavaliers and last played for the team on February 12.

Drummond was shut down due to Cleveland’s decision to go with Jarrett Allen at center. Allen was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets.

In 624 career games (573 starts), Drummond has averaged 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game in 9 NBA seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Cavaliers.

Vogel said Gasol (averages of 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds) was informed of the news that Drummond will start.

“All I can say is that he’s loved here,” Vogel said of Gasol. “These guys respect him so much. … He’s been a true pro.”

The addition of Drummond comes at a time when LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) remain sidelined with injuries. –