This offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers went out and made a bit of a "splash" with one of their free-agent signings. The organization brought in center Andre Drummond as some added depth behind superstar big man Joel Embiid. What was so interesting about the addition was the prior history between the two talented centers. Saying that there was some "beef" between the two talented big men would be putting it lightly. There didn't seem to be much mutual respect for each other, as they were often creating headlines with their trash talking and antics on the court. There was serious doubt as to whether or not this was going to have any chance of working with the history between the two. As you can tell from the photo below, Joel Embiid's reaction when Drummond arrived with the Sixers said everything you needed to know.
The beautiful thing about the NBA is what can happen when two rivals suddenly become teammates. It can suddenly bury the drama that was created after competing against each other for so many years. The two talented centers spent the majority of their careers battling in the Eastern Conference. After being drafted in 2012 by the Detroit Pistons, Drummond was a common opponent of Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Andre Drummond talks about his dynamic with Joel Embiid
Fast forward to today and it looks as if the two players have scrapped their previous beef with the common goal of trying to win. Andre Drummond knows his position with this Sixers team. He was brought in on a minimum contract to be the backup to Joel Embiid. The team wants him to be able to come in and impact the game while allowing Joel Embiid to rest. So far Drummond has started to buy into his new role, and it looks like he's got a clever analogy for his job.
“The dynamic has been great,” said Drummond on Tuesday. “When Batman is out doing his stuff, he needs an Alfred. When Batman’s out there stopping crime, Alfred’s out there overseeing making sure everything is good. Whatever he needs, I’m there with the quickness. I think that’s a good analogy.”
It's great to see when players can push their ego aside and try to do anything possible that is in the best interest of the team. After being a productive starter for the majority of his career, Drummond now finds himself as a rotation piece for this 76ers team. While it's easy to view Joel Embiid as "Batman" in this situation, Drummond is a crucial part of the equation with the history of injuries that Embiid has dealt with over the years. It's a great insurance to have, as Drummond gives Philadelphia a talented big man who can provide effective minutes without making Embiid play for extended periods of time. It sounds as if all Andre Drummond wants to do is win.
“I’m here to win,” he said succinctly. “Whatever the capacity it may be and whatever role it needs to be in, I’m here to win, that’s why they brought me here to help this team in whatever way I can. Whether it’s to start when Joel needs a break or just to come off the bench and give a spark to our second unit. It’s a role I’ve embraced and it’s been very fun.”
For two players that were once viewed as bitter rivals, it looks as if they are finally starting to build some chemistry as teammates. So far this season, Andre Drummond has averaged just 5.0 points, but he's also averaging 13.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. As long as both players stay on the same page, this could be a fantastic situation moving forward for "Alfred and Batman."