Throughout this season, as fans have clamored more and more to see Andre Drummond‘s role increase, usually as a result of an emotional rant after watching one of Detroit’s numerous bad losses this season, I’ve admired the consistency of how Vince Ellis has dealt with what I’m sure of hundreds of tweets, e-mails, comments, etc. from fans and readers who are beyond frustrated that the highly productive rookie who is so key to the team’s future isn’t playing more. Ellis laid out his very reasonable rebuttal in the Detroit Free Press:
Also, one of the guys in front of Drummond — Jason Maxiell — is playing the best basketball of his life. So how would it look in the locker room if Drummond started cutting into Maxiell’s time? Sports should be a meritocracy.
And later …
The minutes shouldn’t come at Maxiell’s expense automatically. Maybe shrink Charlie Villanueva’s time on nights he doesn’t make his first few shots.
Although Jason Maxiell‘s future with the team is unknown since he’ll be a free agent, I think most would agree with these points — wanting to see Drummond isn’t an indictment of Maxiell, who has been very good with the limited skillset/size he has. There isn’t necessarily a ‘Drummond over Maxiell’ movement so much as there is a desire to see Drummond play more minutes with Greg Monroe. Since Maxiell plays with Monroe a lot now, it would simply be a matter of shuffling the substitution pattern around a bit more. Most people in the comments here aren’t complaining that Maxiell is playing too much. They’re just complaining that he’s playing too much with Monroe at Drummond’s expense.