Meet Detroit Pistons newest Bad Boy: Rodney McGruder

Detroit Pistons guard Rodney McGruder (17) warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors.. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Rodney McGruder (17) warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors.. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

After Sunday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, reserve guard Rodney McGruder, was called out by the Warriors’ Draymond Green and Klay Thompson for his actions after the game. Is McGruder the newest Detroit Pistons Bad Boy?

And you will be shocked who took up McGruder’s defense.

Golden State Warriors star forward Draymond Green should have been in a good mood after his team’s 116-91 stomping of the Detroit Pistons. It was a win they needed badly, and they had played well.

Warriors’ Draymond Green, Klay Thompson have beef with Detroit Pistons’ Rodney McGruder

So, it shocked everyone, at the post-game press conference, when Green took the opportunity to go on for two minutes about his problem with Pistons reserve guard Rodney McGruder.

As there is adult language, we are not showing it, but if you are interested, you can see it here (courtesy KNBR) (WARNING FOUL LANGUAGE) .

Below is an edited version of Green’s rant on McGruder:

"“Apparently he was taking up for Wayne Ellington. When the (expletive) did Rodney McGruder become a tough guy? I have seen a lot of tough guys this year. But they do not want to do anything. So, like, if you really wanted to do something. You could have done it. Walking over there talking (guff), like he is the team tough guy.“Tough guy Rodney. Rodney? I’m rockin’ with Juan T on that one, anyway. Juan was about to bring that too bidness. … But I know no one scared of (expletive) Rodney McGruder. Like, are you kidding me? Crazy.”"

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Here is video of the incident, with some negative comments of McGruder coming from injured Warriors star Klay Thompson, who was serving as a guest broadcaster on the Warriors telecast.

That the focus of two former all-star players was a 29-year-old guard who has only played in four of the Pistons games, averaging 2.8 points, was kind of startling.

Note to Klay Thompson: McGruder has a contract for $5.3 million for the 2021-22 season, so he is not leaving the league anytime soon.

Probably only the most dedicated Pistons fans even knew McGruder was on the team.

Some background: Rodney McGruder is in his fifth NBA season, his first with Detroit. He came over from the Clippers as part of the Luke Kennard trade. He did start previously for two seasons with the Miami Heat. McGruder is best known for his defense, although he did score eight points at the end of the Golden State game.

Apparently, the Warriors’ Juan Toscano-Anderson, during the first half,  had some words for the Pistons’ Wayne Ellington. who was not in the best of moods, considering he was in the midst of an 0-for-6 shooting night.

Ellington, at some point ,mentioned what Toscano-Anderson said to those on the Pistons bench. McGruder was not in the game until the fourth quarter.

McGruder took umbrage that Toscano-Anderson, playing only the 20th game of his NBA career, was talking (in his opinion) out of line to Ellington, a 12-year veteran known known for being a high character guy.

Ellington comes to Detroit Pistons teammate McGruder’s defense

Ellington, well-known as a stand-up guy, one of the reasons Detroit general manger Troy Weaver signed him, came the next day to McGruder’s defense (courtesy Rod Beard):

(Lightly edited for clarity)

"“I’ve seen that junk. It’s crazy,” said Ellington.” First of all, I think it’s very unprofessional and definitely not classy for somebody to attack Rodney’s professional career the way it was attacked. I’ve known him since we played in Miami together with the Heat. He is one of the most hard-working, humble, and down-to-earth guys that there is in this league. For someone to attack him like this, is very unfair.“Rodney has never tried to portray (himself) or act like a tough guy in this league. To be honest, the guy over there, Juan, is the one who started the whole thing. Rod is a man of respect, like myself, and I felt like he took offense to whatever the guy was saying to me in the first half. I just kind of laughed it off and kept on going. Obviously, it stuck with Rod, and as my brother, he took it upon himself to take the temperature of the situation; and that is what men do.“… For Draymond to sit up and talk all that kind of crazy stuff behind a microphone, I think, that’s the fake tough-guy stuff, to be honest. I think it is unfair for those guys to attack my man like that. I appreciate Rod and I love him like a brother for whatever he did do – that I know wasn’t tough guy stuff. He probably walked over there to try and clear the air with the guy.”"

Kevin Durant takes Ellington’s side

Ellington said this would be the only time he would comment on the issue. He obviously wants to put it behind him, and not get McGruder pulled into a controversy involving some of the biggest names in the NBA.

McGruder was not made available to comment.

Interestingly, Kevin Durant, former teammate of Thompson and Green, apparently is taking Ellington’s side:

Considering the two people directly involved, Toscano-Anderson and McGruder, have no comment yet on the situation, it is hard to judge how big of a deal to make of it.

Did McGruder physically threaten Toscano-Anderson? That would be a matter for the NBA league office,  if that claim was made (which it has not). Even Green and Thompson did not accuse McGruder of doing anything physically threatening, basically just getting in Toscano-Anderson’s face.

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So, is Rodney McGruder a Detroit Pistons Bad Boy?: Absolutely.

Imagine if Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, or Dennis Rodman saw some kid in his 20th game talking smack to an established, well-respected vet like Ellington?

You know Toscano-Anderson would have received an earful, or much, much worse, from any or all of them. Welcome to the club Rodney.