Philadelphia 76ers: Who will help to carry Andre Drummond?

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

To quote the great Gerard Butler in Gladiator, “Are you not entertained?

For many a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers, the first day of free agency was kind of a dud.  Sure, the team re-signed for Furkan Kormaz to one heck of a deal, which is always nice, but as the evening went on, player after player kept coming off the team’s big board, oftentimes to their direct competition for the Eastern Conference crown.

Does no one want to play in the City of Brotherly Love? Is the impending Ben Simmons trade too much of a question mark to justify a veteran minimum deal? Or has Danny Green scorched the earth so much that mid-level talent wants to avoid Philly out of fear of getting… booed?

Well, fear not, Philly fans, for one Day 2 of free agency, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, and company finally got in on the action and signed our old pal/Philadelphia 76ers draftee Andre Igoudala at the veteran minimum.

Life is goo… wait, what? You don’t spell ‘Igoudala’ Drummond. What in the Sam Heck is going on?

Do the Philadelphia 76ers know Andre Drummond isn’t switchable stretch 5?

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Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers made waves by signing Andre Drummond on the veteran minimum to serve as the team’s starting center next to Anthony Davis.

At the time, landing Drummond on such a deal felt like a bargain, as he was just a season removed from being in contention for a max contract and was surprisingly released by the Cleveland Cavaliers after a deal failed to materialize at the 2021 NBA Trade deadline.

… and then he took the court at Staples.

Now to say Drummond was bad for the Lakers last season would be a bit of an exaggeration. Even though his statistics were down across the board, dropping to the lowest point since his rookie season, the former Piston still turned in 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds in just under 25 minutes of action a night.

Tasked with playing a souped-up version of the Dwight Howard role, Drummond provided energy, excitement, and pick-and-roll pedigree to the Lakers’ offense, but do you want to know what he literally never did?

Shoot 3s, like at all. In 21 games of action, Drummond took zero 3 pointers and was effectively a non-factor outside of the paint.

Factor in Drummond’s, shall we say, defensive non-versatility, and you’re left with a player who, while still totally a valid contributor, is more situationally effective than a Swiss army knife big who can be effective in a variety of different lineups.

Need proof? Look no further than how the Lakers used Drummond once the playoffs rolled around. While Drummond still started the first five games versus the Phoenix Suns, his minutes dropped down to 21 even, and he was held out of Game 6 entirely as with a DNP.

Simply put, if Drummond and Ben Simmons have to share the court this fall, it’ll be a disaster of Howard-Simmons-level proportions.

So what gives? I get teams need 82 game players just as much as they need 16 game players, but Drummond’s game is fairly antithetical to what Morey said he’s looking for in a backup big during his post-draft media availability.

Honestly, beats me.

Maybe the player(s) the Sixers were targeting went off the board quickly. Maybe they appreciate his energy, or they were genuinely shocked that Drummond was willing to accept a vet minimum deal and jumped at an opportunity to sign a two-time All-Star and four-time rebounds champion for pennies on the dollar.

Or maybe, just maybe, the Sixers have a plan in place to trade for a pick-and-roll specialist who would thrive playing off of a big-bodied, second-string screen-setter when Embiid is off the court. I mean, probably not, right, as some are now suggesting that Philly could keep Ben Simmons heading into the regular season, but anything is possible.

Sidebar: Please let the Gorgui Dieng rumors be true; I can’t take another season without a legit 3-and-D combo big.

dark. Next. It’s time to bring Andre Iguodala back to Philly

Could Andre Drummond ultimately prove his doubters wrong? Could the 27-year-old recapture his vintage Pistons form and be in line for a max contract this time next year after a season playing the DeAndre Jordan role in Doc Rivers’ offense? I guess anything is possible, but for now, I give this Philadelphia 76ers signing a reluctant thumbs down. Boom, a callback to Gladiator; nailed it.