NBA

Drummond eyes underdog mindset as Bulls prepare to compete with 'super teams'

By Sports Desk October 24, 2023

A defiant Andre Drummond suggested the Chicago Bulls can utilise an underdog mentality as his side prepare to face a host of "super teams" in the new NBA season.

The Bulls have missed out on the NBA Playoffs in five of the last six seasons, finishing 40-42 in their last campaign and failing to make the eight-seed position in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago's task in the upcoming season will be no easier, although Drummond believes the Bulls can mix with the best as numerous teams assemble impressive rosters.

"I'm looking to beat every team that we play," the 30-year-old center told Stats Perform.

"That's my mindset, but there are definitely some circles on my calendar for teams that I'm looking forward to playing. Phoenix being one of them. Denver, Boston, the Bucks, the Spurs.

"I'm really looking forward to [facing] these teams that are being formed, like these super teams everybody's talking about.

"I love when the underdog team beats them."

While the Bulls once again failed to make the postseason, Drummond took some comfort in seeing his former teammates win the championship with the Denver Nuggets.

"The Nuggets winning almost feels like I won because it's kind of personal for me," he continued.

"Four of my former teammates play for that team – Ish Smith, Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown – and the fact those guys have done it [makes it feel personal because of] how much work we all put into our games.

"We played for Detroit together, and to see them win it almost felt like I got a piece of that championship to see that success for them."

The Nuggets are tipped as a potential repeat champion, which has happened on just three occasions since 2010, with the talent of Nikola Jokic a key to their success.

In 20 postseason games, Jokic accumulated 600 points, 269 rebounds and 190 assists. Never before in NBA history had a player reached those numbers over a 20-game span.

Jokic also became the first player in NBA history to have 25+ points and 15+ rebounds on 75 per cent shooting in a championship-clinching win after the Game 5 victory over the Miami Heat.

Those record-breaking numbers were no surprise to Drummond, who is preparing to face a new era of NBA stars.

"It is the new age of basketball now with guys like Jokic, Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and the new kid Victor [Wembanyama] who is taking the league by storm right now," he added.

"The game is changing and changes every year, something new happens and it becomes a wave, and everybody wants to follow that trend for that year until the next wave goes on.

"I always say history repeats itself at some point in time, the true center position is going to come back around, which it already kind of has due to everybody getting out-rebounded.

"I just think it's unique man, Jokic is a unique basketball player, the way he sees the floor, he thinks like a guard and plays like a guard, but is 6'11 and almost 300 pounds.

"He's just a really smart, a great decision maker, great basketball player overall and he's very, very fun to watch and play against."

Having started with the Detroit Pistons in 2012, Drummond believes the game has changed – and will continue to evolve – albeit perhaps not for the better.

He said: "I've been a part of a lot of good basketball, and to like where it is now, where it's a little bit softer, you can't touch anybody and everybody is free flowing.

"Everybody's there for the show instead of the game of basketball, I feel like it's a lot easier now because you can't touch anybody, so it makes the game a lot easier for both the offense and defense."

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