By: Will Burchfield
Andre Drummond feels like a guest in his new home.
He’s checked out Little Caesars Arena a few times, including this past weekend, and has been struck by an imbalance in fanfare between its two tenants.
He can’t shake the feeling that the Pistons are playing second fiddle to the Red Wings.
“I went down there a few times and I just felt like there’s a lot of hockey stuff. I’m like, damn. I mean, I understand we’re sharing this arena, but throw a little (Pistons stuff) somewhere,” Drummond said on Monday at his team’s media day, which was held at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Some fans who have toured the new arena have noted the same thing. Though LCA has done its best to promote both teams, there’s no way around the fact that the building was designed and built for the Red Wings. That may well shine through, especially in the arena’s first year of operation.
“But that’s obviously not my place to say that,” Drummond went on. “I was speaking off emotions of me just being down there and seeing that. If I was coming to a new home I felt like it’d be more welcoming, in my opinion, but maybe I’m looking at it from the wrong angle because everything is not done yet.”
The Pistons’ championship banners and retired numbers hang from the LCA rafters, just like those of the Red Wings. Pictures of players from each team are on display in alternating fashion in the concourse. The Wings’ heritage may take up more space on the arena walls, but it’s also longer and more decorated.
LCA execs have said the building will slant its branding toward whichever team is in town, and the Red Wings are in town at the moment.
“I can’t really delete the Tweet, it’s already out. At the end of the day, I’m probably looking at it the wrong way. Obviously, when the season starts and we’re playing, everything’s going to change over to our stuff, but at the time that’s how I felt,” Drummond said.
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy called the team’s new home “a world-class arena,” and the surrounding District Detroit “the best sports and entertainment district in the country.”
“I just don’t think there’s anything to criticize there,” Van Gundy said, but added he hasn’t talked to Drummond about his comments.
“I don’t know when he saw it or anything else, but when the ice is down it’s a hockey arena and when the court is up it’s a basketball arena, just like it is in LA and Madison Square Garden and Chicago and a lot of other places. I think it’s great, and I think when he gets in there and plays in that arena and that environment, he’ll love it. I don’t really know where he’s coming from on that, I haven’t talked to him about it, but it’s a fabulous place,” said Van Gundy.
He also noted the sight lines are “terrific.”
“The way it’s built puts people closer to the court, which I think will give us an outstanding home court advantage when we get those people yelling and screaming,” Van Gundy said.