You'd think a fan base who hadn't tasted the playoffs for seven years would take a little time to enjoy the playoff-clinching win against the Wizards on Friday night.
The 112-99 performance featured a dominating 39-point performance from Reggie Jackson, who fired up the crowd all night. But it also featured a lackluster performance from Andre Drummond, and when the Wizards resorted to hacking Dre, he was benched in favor of Aron Baynes.
Drummond sat mostly by himself away from teammates for the rest of the game, including the closing seconds.
Uhhh.... pic.twitter.com/xjxjNUTORp— David Mayo (@David_Mayo) April 9, 2016
And, well, Twitter is gonna Twitter.
I won't get into the most noxious statements (just search Drummond and a random insult), but suffice it to say that Drummond sitting on the bench by himself as the clock struck zero was apparently the last straw for a lot of Pistons fans.
Fans were posting and breaking down video like it was the Zapruder film, all in evidence that Drummond was an immature, petulant, cancerous teammate who needed to be shipped out of town at the first opportunity.
It didn't matter that nobody was actually inside Drummond's head to know what he was thinking. It didn't matter that his teammates seem to like him. It doesn't matter that he's 22 years old and far from a finished product.
After the game, Drummond took to Twitter to explain himself.
For all those who thought I was sad about that game... Isn't the case at all just was sad my best friend who passed away wouldn't be able— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummondd) April 9, 2016
To see me in my first playoff run, I'm beyond excited we won! #pistonNation— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummondd) April 9, 2016
According to David Mayo, this is related to an incident from a couple of months ago.
I have no reason to disbelieve Drummond, but I can also say that this is not the first time he has had poor body language after being pulled late in games.
He's a 22-year-old who wants to be the leader of the team and the face of the franchise, and he is so bad at free throws that he can't finish games. It's frustrating. I'm not surprised he's frustrated by the situation. And it's both his and Stan Van Gundy's job to get Drummond's free-throw percentage up around that 50 percent mark that would allow him to finish games.
Now, because it's late and I don't have time to use artful prose and clever structure, I'm just going to rant bullet-point style.
- If there's a group of people I'm going to look to for insight on how a 22-year-old professional athlete SHOULD act, it's definitely going to be a bunch of bitter, cynical 50-year-olds on Twitter.
- I'd have more respect for the extremely vulgar, vocal contingent infecting my Twitter timeline if their solution for replacing Drummond's immature, selfish game wasn't trading for DeMarcus Cousins.
- I'm much more concerned with Andre Drummond's defensive development than I am with him free-throw shooting or his demeanor on the bench.
- Stan Van Gundy gave Aron Baynes $7 million per year because he was the best free-throw shooting center on the market. It shouldn't surprise fans, and it shouldn't surprise Drummond that Baynes is going to play late in games.
- Drummond is not a great player, but he could be one day. Let's give Stan Van Gundy more than 1+ seasons to see what he can mold Drummond into before we trade him for pennies on the dollar.
- Once again, I will point out that giving Drummond the max is not like giving Kevin Durant the max. Giving Drummond the post-rookie max is like saying, "hey, you're really good, I'd like to pay you so you're on my team during your prime years."
- Even if the league eliminates the hacking rule, finishing games will still be a major issue for Drummond. Dre could be fouled whenever he sets up the pick for the ball handler because that would be considered a foul on the ball.
- Drummond is not a bad free-throw shooter because he doesn't practice shooting enough, and he shouldn't be a better free-throw shooter because he's a millionaire. These are bad arguments, and if you're making them you should feel bad.
- Twitter can show the best of people, and it can certainly show the worst. #buffoonery