The Cavs’ Andre Drummond receives first-place vote in down year

Cleveland Cavaliers Andre Drummond. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Andre Drummond. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers scored a first-place vote in the NBA Defensive Player of the year vote.

Hope abounds for the Cleveland Cavaliers and center Andre Drummond. Despite having a poor record across the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, Andre Drummond somehow scored a first-place vote for the Defensive Player of the Year award. The winner of the annual award went to the Giannis Antetokounmpo for 2020. The fact that Drummond even scored one vote at all, let alone a first-place vote, shows that Drummond is a respected defensive player.

While Antetokounmpo won it decidedly in 2020, the hope is that Drummond and a much-improved Cavaliers squad can improve defensively in 2020-2021. That’s why so many people are getting a chuckle out of the first-place vote. The Cavs were the worst-rated defense all season but Drummond only played eight games for the Cavs. While his time with the Pistons didn’t net much of a better grade, it was a bit higher than the Cavs total.

The Cavaliers will need to rely on guys like Drummond a lot next season, especially if they hope to make moves to improve their overall defense on a budget. The Miami Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. is someone that fans have their eyes on, but that’s assuming his recent neck injury isn’t too severe. The Cavs can’t just go after anyone they want, their salary cap is mostly taxed at the moment, so a player likes Jones whos’ talented but affordable appeals to the team.

The team would be wise to draft someone who can fill some more needs besides just scoring, and look at who the best defensive player in the draft is. Israeli prospect Deni Avdija checks both boxes as an offensive and defensive presence. Luckily most mock drafts have the Cavs taking him anyway, so that may work out well.

With Avdija, a signing like Jones and Drummond playing a full season for the Cavs, perhaps the team will see an improved defensive effort and the team can parlay that into a playoff birth.

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