The Sixers already had interest in acquiring a big, but Joel Embiid’s absence likely makes that a more urgent need. Embiid underwent a procedure Tuesday to address an injury to the meniscus in his left knee. He’ll be re-evaluated in four weeks, according to the team, though the timeline appears to be more in the six-to-eight weeks range for the reigning MVP to return to play.
In Drummond, the Sixers would get a starting-caliber center that would help somewhat mitigate the loss of Embiid. The two-time All-Star is having a strong season for Chicago, but has played especially well recently as the team has tinkered with lineups featuring both Drummond and Nikola Vucevic. Over his last 20 games, Drummond is averaging 10.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals.
Rebounding is still Drummond’s calling card. He’s led the league in boards four times and is having a ridiculous season overall in that regard. He’s averaging 18.8 boards (7.5 offensive!) per 36 minutes. Rebounding was a point of emphasis for head coach Nick Nurse coming into the season. Without Embiid, Drummond could fill that void in a major way. Drummond also racks up deflections as a big, something that would align with Nurse’s defensive schemes.
Offensively, Drummond is a strong screener and roller, something that could help Tyrese Maxey in a big way. Drummond uses his 6-foot-11, 279-pound frame effectively to set good, hard screens. As Maxey continues to get blitzed in the pick-and-roll, Drummond is a player that’s shown he can be good on the short roll. As we learned during his time with the Sixers, he’s an underrated passer and could do well finding the corners and cutters. It doesn’t hurt that Maxey and Drummond did overlap in Philly, albeit briefly.
While a player like Utah’s Kelly Olynyk could make more sense as a pick-and-pop threat and someone that could potentially play alongside Embiid, Drummond is a more ideal “innings eater” that could help the Sixers stay afloat over the next couple months.
We’ll keep you posted as the NBA trade deadline draws closer.