Andre Drummond addressed his so-called “beef” with Joel Embiid with more maturity than Humphrey Bogart at the end of Casablanca. The two bitter Eastern Conference rivals are ready to team up for the Philadelphia 76ers in what Drummond believes is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The two-time All-Star addressed the Philly media on Thursday and quickly diffused any potential drama. He and Embiid are wired the same and trash-talking is a big part of each player’s game. It gives them their spark, fuels them to compete harder. There was never any animosity or malice. And there is nothing they need to hash out.
“I don’t think there’s any real beef or malice towards each other,” Drummond told reporters on Thursday. “It’s part of the game. We’re on the same team now. It’s not something I’m thinking about or anything that’s really bothering me.”
Drummond (6-foot-10) and Embiid (7-foot) should form one of the most intimidating big men tandems in the NBA this year. The trash-talking centers average double-doubles for their careers, plus both players are in their primes at age 27. Good luck trying to get anything inside the paint on them.
“Joel is already one of the best centers in the NBA, and to be alongside him, it’s going to be a long night for a lot of teams,” Drummond said. “Just getting beat up by the bigs, just he and I, there’s not much that we can’t do.”
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Drummond Comfortable Being Embiid’s Backup
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers hasn’t confirmed how he intends to use his new Twin Towers, but the assumption is Drummond will spell Embiid off the bench. He’ll slide into the Dwight Howard role.
The difference being that Drummond is a lot younger version of Howard, a guy who started 46 games last year for Cleveland and Los Angeles. Drummond knows his minutes are going to take a big hit in Philly. He doesn’t care.
“I think for me, making the decision to come to Philly was based off Doc really having the faith in me to really help this team do something special,” Drummond said. “Whatever my role is, me coming off the bench in the prime of my career, it doesn’t really matter. I can still be effective coming off the bench and backing up Joel.”
Drummond kept pointing to Rivers as the main reason for him joining the Sixers. He has known the venerable coach since high school when he played on the same team with Rivers’ son, Austin. From there, mutual respect grew and Drummond always had it in the back of his mind to one day play for Coach Rivers.
“Doc is very good with his bigs. He finds ways to get the best out of them,” Drummond said. “I’m looking forward to playing with him because I know something he’s very good at is getting the best out of his players.”
Ask Kevin Garnett about that. Ask DeAndre Jordan. Better yet, ask Embiid. Doc knows big men.
“I think it was a no-brainer,” Drummond said. “I’ve always wanted to play for Doc. When I got the chance to play for him, I took the chance.”
Writing on Wall in Los Angeles
It’s not that the Sixers were the second choice, it’s more that Drummond saw the writing on the wall in Los Angeles. The Lakers made a huge splash in free agency, including a strong emphasis on placing shooters around LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook. Drummond didn’t seem to fit their new blueprint. And that’s OK, nothing lasts forever even cold August rain.
“You know, times are changing,” Drummond said, “and they made different trades and changes to their team to where it didn’t make sense for me to go back there, so I took the next best thing after that, which was to come to Philly.”
Next best thing? Don’t read too much into that comment. Drummond clearly wants to be in the City of Brotherly Love with Rivers. And with Tobias Harris, his old running mate from the Detroit Pistons. They spent three seasons together in Motown.
“Tobias and I played in Detroit together and I’ve been watching his career ever since he left,” Drummond said. “It’s been amazing just watching him elevate his game and grow. He’s a focused, hard-nosed guy that does everything the right way and tries to make the best for his team.”