Andre Drummond embraces his new role as a rotational leader — ‘be the best teammate possible’ — with the Chicago Bulls – The Denver Post


Andre Drummond carved his entire NBA career out of his prowess around the rim. But as the center finds his footing in Chicago, he hopes to bring something else to the Bulls roster — veteran experience.

The average Bulls player boasts only 4.6 years experience in the NBA. There are a few outliers: DeMar DeRozan is the veteran leader of the team at 33, Nikola Vučević has played 11 seasons at 31 and new signing Goran Dragić will bring additional experience at 36. But the majority of the roster is full of young players still establishing themselves.

Drummond is only 29, but his decade in the NBA makes him a seasoned vet in the Bulls locker room.

“This is a team that is very young and hungry,” Drummond said. “We’re in a position to do something very special. I wanted to be part of that.”

Between Drummond’s signing and the return of forward Patrick Williams, the Bulls will bring a larger look this season while still cornering their play on the quick pace set by the guards.

Rim protection and rebounding were two of the most glaring weak points last season for the Bulls, who finished third-to-last in overall rebounding and second-to-last on the offensive boards. Drummond’s acquisition was a clear move to address this problem.

“He’s been an unbelievable rebounder and rim protector for the majority of his career,” coach Billy Donovan said.

Drummond is one of the most consistent rebounders, leading the league in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. While last season saw a major dip in Drummond’s playing time, he still wrangled 9.3 rebounds per game off the bench.

As a former Detroit Piston, it’s easy to draw parallels between Drummond and former Bulls legend Dennis Rodman, who Drummond cited as one of the players who most influenced his game.

“That’s something I hung my hat on from my rookie year,” Drummond said. “I wanted to be known as being the best rebounder to play this game.”

Drummond’s grueling commitment to rebounds could serve as a complement to Vučević, who operates as a stretch four or five to pop out for shots outside the three-point line. Both players voiced interest in playing at the same time in a larger lineup.

The Bulls unsuccessfully attempted this two-big approach with Tristan Thompson last year, but Drummond’s agility could fit more effectively alongside Vučević.

“I think it would be very useful,” Drummond said. “It’s something that will come along the way. I’m not sure if it will happen right away, but I’m sure it’ll happen throughout the year.”

Drummond’s new home will likely continue a shift away from a starting position for the center. Although he quickly became a centerpiece of the starting lineup during seven seasons with the Pistons at the start of his career, Drummond became a rotational piece last season during short stints with the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

Drummond deflected questions about whether he aspires to push Vučević out of his starting job. But the competition can only help both players — and the Bulls, who will benefit from the flexibility provided by two centers with markedly different skill sets.

“If they need me to be a spark off the bench, that’s what I’m going to do,” Drummond said. “My ego is not something that’s driven in this game. My job here is to be the best teammate possible, to help this team in every way possible. Whatever role that may be, I have to accept that.”



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