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While help is needed, Andre Drummond isn’t likely to solve much of anything for the Mavericks

Photo: Michael Lark/Dallas Sports Fanatic

While help is needed, Andre Drummond isn’t likely to solve much of anything for the Mavericks

After Sunday night’s 121-118 loss to the Trail Blazers at home, the Mavericks have now given up over 115 points in seven consecutive games. Those seven games also line up with when they started winning games again following a six-game losing streak. So, they’re 5-2 over the last seven games while giving up an average of over 126 points per game. If you’re winning games giving up that many points, that just means your offense is absolutely clicking. So, is this just the same thing as last year’s Mavs?

That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, as last year’s team was on pace for close to a 50 win season before COVID-19 halted the regular season in March, but it was quite clear they weren’t really equipped to take a serious step towards title contention quite yet with so many defensive issues.. If this team is basically a repeat of last year’s team, but with an 8-13 hole they had to dig out of, is it worth waiting until the offseason to try to make a big next move?

With all of the notable free agents at the end of the season on this roster, it’s a guarantee that next year’s team will look considerably different. However, it’s definitely going to be interesting to see whether the version of the 2021 Mavs following the March 25th trade deadline will look very different from the version that’s there today.

Who to add, though? The name that has been on many Mavs fans’ wish list for so long is current Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond. I say current because it has become clear that his time in Cleveland is running out with either a trade or contract buy-out becoming more and more imminent by the day. The Athletic is reporting Monday that the Cavs and Raptors are discussing a potential trade sending Drummond to Tampa/Toronto, but nothing is imminent. Could the Mavs swoop in and make a deal for Drummond’s $28.7 million expiring deal.

Jeez, I hope not.

Drummond is in his ninth season in the league and, despite two All-Star appearances, is the ultimate example of a “good stats, bad team” player. In his first full seven seasons in Detroit, the team averaged an incredibly mediocre 36 wins a season and while that certainly can’t be blamed on Drummond only, the franchise has been in a tailspin for well over a decade, his reputations certainly backs up him being a major contributor to mediocre-to-bad basketball.

Look at his basic counting stats this season and you’ll be impressed: 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds (second in the league). Great! A big man averaging a double-double! Those don’t grow on trees.

Reality: He’s an old school big man playing a devalued position in today’s NBA. He might be able to put up big numbers, but is that really going to help the team when his style of play takes away possessions with both turnovers and also slowing the game down with post-ups?

He averages 3.2 turnovers per game. 90% of those are probably coming on post-ups and the Mavs already have a big man who fans are frustrated with their fruitless interior possessions in Kristaps Porzingis.

A comparison of the pair’s interior games:

Kristaps Porzingis Andre Drummond
2P FG% (What do they do with their two point shots) 55% 47%
Post-up FG % 46% 44%
Post-up possessions per game 3.7 5.4 (third in league behind Embiid and Jokic)
Points per post-up possession 1.00 .82

Even though Kristaps Porzingis’ post-up possessions leave a lot to be desired, they are still more productive than Drummond’s and they happen less frequently throughout the course of a game. Then there’s the other aspect of a modern big man’s game that Drummond hasn’t even touched.

He has taken just 111 career three point attempts while Porzingis has taken 108 this season alone.

While Porzingis isn’t even close to any sort of elite shooter from deep, the defense is still taken out of the paint whenever he’s on the perimeter. Considering the absolute magician Luka Doncic is whenever he’s allowed to get past a defender and roll towards the basket, I’d say it’s pretty important that there isn’t a big man and a defender just standing underneath the basket and in the way of whatever Doncic might be able to do with his transcendent skill set.

This isn’t even about comparing Drummond and Porzingis since they would be on the same team. It’s just to prove that you don’t want this kind of offensive disruption from Drummond if it’s not even at an elite level of efficiency. Porzingis picks and chooses his time to work in the paint and he’s more efficient than Drummond when he does choose to work down low.

Here’s our own Reese Konkle’s take on him.

I agree with his take on bringing him in overall: sure, for next to nothing. This means only on a buyout. He’s not even worth James Johnson’s expiring deal plus whatever it takes to make the money work in a trade. That could be used on a long-term piece in a different deal. Realistically, he’s much more likely to choose somewhere like Brooklyn or one of the LA teams if they’re interested in him than the Mavericks if he were to be a free agent after a buyout.

If he does end up here on a buyout deal, I’ll be willing to give it a shot over the course of the remainder of this season. I just know Drummond isn’t the answer that people want him to be. Every eye ball test and statistical measurement says so.

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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