The Chicago Bulls’ public and media relations staff dug up a statistical gem, with an assist from the Elias Sports Bureau, following Thursday’s 114-98 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
With his 15 points and 11 rebounds in 15 minutes, Andre Drummond became the first player since Daryl Dawkins way back in the 1978-79 season to reach those statistical levels in 15 minutes or less.
There’s a reason it happens so infrequently. Typically, players producing those kinds of double-doubles play more.
But this season has been anything but typical for Drummond, who has largely fallen out of Billy Donovan’s rotation lately as the Bulls’ coach has used Derrick Jones Jr. at center in small-ball lineups that can switch defensively.
“Am I OK with it? I’m never OK with it. At the end of the day, I’m a basketball player and I want to play. But the circumstances that I’m in, I have to work my way back to where I want to get to,” Drummond said, without malice, about falling out of the rotation. “There are certain routes I have to take to get there. Me being a good teammate and showing guys that I’m here to do whatever it takes to help this team win is what’s going to help me get there. That’s what I’m going to do.
“It’s part of the game, stuff I can’t control. The stuff I can control is being a good teammate, working on my game, staying in shape and being prepare when my number is called. When you focus on the stuff you can’t control, that’s when you start getting to that dark place. I’m just here to be a good teammate.”
Drummond has been exactly that, always taking the high road when asked about his diminished role. He’s averaging a career-low 12.8 minutes per game.
“I think for a guy who has been in the league for as long as he has and has had the success that he’s had, he’s a competitive guy,” Donovan said. “When guys are out of the rotation, as a coach I don’t think you ever want them to say, ‘This is great.’ He wants to be out there.”
Donovan said he went to the rotational look, which included Drummond seeing rare, first-quarter minutes, because of Charlotte’s size up front. In recent games against both the Hornets on the road and the Los Angeles Clippers at home, opponents took advantage of their size matchup against Jones Jr.
Donovan said matchups may determine how he utilizes the backup center minutes moving forward.
“There have been times we’ve played bigger teams and I still didn’t play,” Drummond said. “So I think it’s just staying prepared.”
Drummond said he doesn’t feel the need to talk to Donovan about his role because his play speaks for itself. He also brushed aside a light-hearted question about requesting a trade in advance of next week’s deadline, saying he wants to be here.
Asked if he feels he has produced when given the opportunity, Drummond smiled.
“I don’t know,” he said. “You tell me.”
When the reporter answered affirmatively, Drummond smiled again.
“Then I guess we’re on the same page then,” he said.