DETROIT – It’s clear there is still no love lost between Detroit Pistons fans and former center Andre Drummond. The longtime old Pistons centerpiece has made a return to Little Caesars Arena with the Philadelphia 76ers, his new team, in a pre-season meeting against his former team.
This isn’t the first time Drummond has made a comeback to Little Caesars Arena since being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers two seasons ago. But this is the first time he’s played in front of Pistons fans since March 2020.
Drummond started for the 76ers in the absence of Joel Embiid and Pistons fans have made it clear they weren’t happy with him. Seconds after he touched the ball, the fans in attendance launched a series of boos and taunts.
Fans cheered and cheered when Drummond missed a free throw, returned the ball, or fouled. Fans did not take the opportunity to let the former Pistons star know how they felt.
He played to the end, however, scoring 13 points and four rebounds at the end of the half. He made five of his seven shooting attempts from the field and sank four of his five free throw attempts.
Carried away by the Pistons in ninth place in the 2012 NBA Draft, Drummond’s tenure in Detroit has been marked by many ups and downs. He led the league by rebounding four times during his career in 2016, as well as from 2018 to 2020. He was named twice to the NBA All-Star team, in 2016 and 2018. He also won the third All-NBA team in 2016.
But after years of stagnant growth, with just two playoff appearances in 2016 and 2019, the Pistons have chosen to begin the process of restoring the franchise. At the 2020 trade deadline, they elected to trade Drummond to the Cavaliers for a second-round pick in 2023, along with the expiring contracts of Brandon Knight and John Henson.
Drummond finished the 2019-20 season and started the 2020-21 season with the Cavaliers before they chose to buy out his contract mid-season. He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in March. He signed with the 76ers for the minimum veteran during the offseason and 76ers head coach Doc Rivers understands the 28-year-old is finding his way into a new role.
“I think it would be difficult to come in and just play a role,” Rivers said before the game. “And by the way, everyone is an actor except one percent. They really are. That’s the problem, is that 90% of them don’t know it yet.
“He was great. He was one of those guys that guys love, just great light. I push him. That’s one of the calls when I made the call and said “I’m not gonna let you be here, man”. Like, that’s part of what I have to do. And he allowed it, he was excellent at it. We have a few things, which I will not share, that I told him he had to get away and that he overall did. So it was good.