Andre Drummond returned to Detroit as a member of the opposing team for the first time with fans in attendance, and perhaps predictably he was booed every time he touched the ball?
Why was he booed? It’s hard to say. All he did in Detroit was get drafted, show himself to be the best rebounder in the league, embrace the city and its fans, always remain positive, go to a couple All-Star games, sign a big contract he was offered and get traded.
And yet the boos rained down all the same. It’s almost as if the fans believe they have some part to play. Like they are some actors in a grand story just fulfilling their obligation.
Only, it’s all a bunch of crap. Drummond is many things and has many flaws as a basketball player. But he literally did nothing wrong in Detroit or to Detroit fans other than not live up to your expectations.
That doesn’t deserve boos from a sparse crowd at LCA. If anything, he deserves admiration for dealing with an ownership change, three GMs, four coaches and playing in the same lineup as Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. Because I’m sure he didn’t ask for any of that.
This does not mean Drummond is a player you have to actively support or even like. But boos are for the rivals. The arch enemies. The true bad guys of the sport, real or imagined.
You’d be hard-pressed to fit Drummond into any of those boxes. You want to punish him because he didn’t become a top-25 player in the league? Because his team went winless in the two playoff series he was lucky enough to play in? Because he never learned to play within his own limitations and didn’t live up to his potential?
If you believe in basketball karma, or reaping what you sow then Drummond’s already paid his penance. He went from a $27 million per year player looking for a long-term extension in Detroit and then in Cleveland to a guy who got bought out by the lowly Cavaliers after he couldn’t be traded, a complete flameout under the bright lights of Los Angeles and is now a backup player on the Sixers who is playing behind a player who famously tortured him on the floor and in the media.
Drummond is the underdog now. He’s the guy who didn’t work out in Detroit who is trying to make good and carve out a present and future for himself in the toughest league in the world. Maturity, humility and growth come at many stages, and sometimes guys have to be knocked down, and get themselves back up.
That’s where Dre finds himself. You don’t kick a guy when he’s down, especially when you don’t know him, and especially when he’s playing a game and risking serious injury for your entertainment.
Your ticket doesn’t give you license to treat him poorly any more than buying a ticket at a comedy club affords you the ability to heckle the comic on stage. “I’m helping,” those people often say, when in reality they are just showing themselves to be clueless, self-deluded idiots.
Besides, considering the rebounding woes the Pistons are going to face this year, the Pistons might be tempted to give the Sixers a ring and it’s easy enough to fit a backup’s $2.4 million salary in any deal.