After the Pistons blew a 14-point lead in the final 12 minutes and lost by 10 to the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night, many fans were wondering why the team's best player, Andre Drummond, was sitting on the bench for the final three and half minutes of the game. The Pistons' big man was benched with the team down four, when many felt he could've helped change the outcome of the game despite the apparent total collapse.
Those privy to head coach Maurice Cheeks' post-game remarks wrote that Drummond was benched because Cheeks felt Greg Monroe was better suited to guard Al Jefferson at that point. As you know, Jefferson went off in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 24 points.
Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press has a quote:
"I thought Greg was the better defender on him," Cheeks said. "He's guarded him a few times before - and at that time it probably didn't matter who was guarding him."
That's pretty much what I said in the quick recap -- it probably didn't matter who was on him. But Ellis also pointed out in his quick post-game write up that Jefferson scored nine points after that substitution. According to Dan Feldman at PP, Drummond held Jefferson to 4-of-14 shooting on the night, which made him 7 for 10 against everybody else. So, it would seem, Drummond was clearly the better option and Cheeks had no idea what he was talking about.
But, to be completely fair, Monroe is the better post-up defender this year, according to mySynergySports.com (No. 8 vs. 19, respectively). Drummond was in the game during the Pistons' collapse. Jefferson hit his first two fourth-quarter shots over Drummond. Drummond had only one defensive rebound despite some opportunities and by a few eyewitness accounts Drummond looked almost disinterested. By the time he was benched, what was once a proud 14-point lead was then a 4-point deficit, an embarrassing 18-point swing. Some might say the game was already lost at that point, which it sure felt like. Someone has to fry for that, right?
Right. It should've been you, Josh Smith.
But what say you, Pistons fans?