The last trade of Thursday’s deadline was that of Andre Drummond heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Just minutes before the end, the Pistons and the Cavaliers worked out the trade that sent Drummond to Ohio in exchange for one second round pick and two expiring contracts (Knight, Henson).
Cleveland was in desperate need of a veteran acquisition in order to boost their rebuilding efforts without losing any major assets. But, is it the right trade fit-wise for John Belein’s team?
The on-the-floor value
The Cavaliers are ranked 20th in rebounds with 44 per game. This number will go-up as Drummond is one of the best in the NBA as far as rebounding the ball is concerned, but their greatest problem lies in their defense.
Cleveland is the fourth worst team in opponent points per game and the second worst in defensive rating. Moreover, Drummond is not a “notorious” elite paint-protector. More specifically, he is allowing his opponents to shoot a respectable 49% despite his 1.7 blocks per game.
Furthermore, Drummond’s most important weakness is that his focus lapses in many defensive plays. These lapses were evident this season with the Detroit Pistons conceding 110.9 points per 100 possessions, when Drummond was on the floor.
In the other hand, when Drummond was off the floor, things didn’t change much, as Detroit was conceding 110.3 points per 100 possessions. Pistons had a net rating of minus-3.6 with Drummond in their five-man squad with the All-Star center being offensively inefficient.
Colin Sexton and Darius Garland
The young core of Garland and Sexton is quite productive in the offensive end. The starting guard duo of Garland and Sexton is producing about 1.057 per possession on a poor minus-11.6 net rating, when they are both on the floor.
Their offensive production is good, but the defensive woes are really bad. Namely, their opponents are averaging 50% on FG% , while they are shooting 37% from the arc against Garland and Sexton.
The “small” guard duo cannot stop anyone on defense with other teams exploiting their size disadvantage and their lack of experience in the NBA level.
The off-the-floor value
We will surely need more games to see if Drummond can change the Cavaliers for the better, as he played his first game against the contending Los Angeles Clippers.
The Cavs evidently are seeing Drummond as a possible important piece of their near future, fitting perfectly with Kevin Love and the need for an upgrade in the defensive end.
The Ex-Pistons center has a player option coming up this summer worth about $28.7 million in a not so great free agent market, in which most of the teams will not have enough cap space to make generous offers to the players.
Andre Drummond will likely stay at least for the next season in Cleveland and the Cavaliers need to take advantage of his presence. The Cavs created a veteran core with the addition of Drummond, which will help the young players figure out the game faster. As a result, the front office will see clearly what they have in the young core of Colin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter jr.