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Do the Pistons really need another point guard?

Rodney Stuckey is universally accepted as the Pistons’ future. And Will Bynum led the team in PER last season.

So, why are the Pistons considering drafting a point guard at 15?

The idea seemed curious to me. The Pistons have only had one pick this high in the last six years, and they used it on Stuckey. The Pistons need front-court players, not point guards.

But the rumor has legs, so here’s a look at the rationale behind drafting a point guard in the first round:

Stuckey at shooting guard

Joe Dumars told the the Detroit Free Press Stuckey will see more minutes at shooting guard next year:

"Playing the point can take your aggression away because you’re worried about the other four guys," the Pistons president of basketball operations said. "What this year confirmed is he’s a combo guard. We have to play him on the ball and off the ball."

At 6-foot-5, Stuckey has the height to be a shooting guard. And I like him next to Bynum in limited minutes. They play fast and aggressive, offensively and defensively. They really change the tempo (unless Detroit becomes a faster team next year. In that case, they’ll keep the tempo).

If Stuckey plays the two, the Pistons will also need a point guard who can make 3-pointers. Stuckey and Bynum would be too much of a liability in that department if they played regular minutes together.

In the end, I suspect Stuckey will still play a large majority of his minutes at point guard. He struggled last year to find the balance between creating for himself and his teammates. But he’s young and will improve. Taking the ball out of his hands doesn’t seem to be the best way to jumpstart his aggressiveness.

And if the Pistons go fast paced next year, the additional offensive possessions could ease any tensions. Not to mention, he won’t have to deal with the Richard Hamilton-Allen Iverson balancing act.

Importance of the point guard

The NBA is becoming a point guard’s league. The sheer amount of talent at the position is astounding:

  • Chris Paul
  • Tony Parker
  • Deron Williams
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Devin Harris
  • Jameer Nelson
  • Jason Terry
  • Rajon Rondo
  • Jason Kidd
  • Mike Bibby
  • Derrick Rose
  • Andre Miller
  • Steve Nash

The case can even be made the four teams still playing have excellent point guards, in addition to Billups. The way LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Hedo Turkoglu run their teams’ offense, they almost act as point guards.

A few years ago, it was clearly a big man’s league. I’m not convinced that has changed, but it’s not as set as stone as it used to be.

A pick-and-roll offense is en vogue, and taking a point guard increases the chances the Pistons find someone to run it as well as Chauncey Billups did.

Detroit had the league’s 19th-best production at point guard last year, according to 82 games. Only center ranked worse. It’s a position that could use upgrading.

Availability

This draft is stacked with point guards.

Chad Ford of ESPN predicts 11 point guards will be first round picks. Draft Express says 12. NBADraft.net projects nine. Tom Ziller of AOL FanHouse has 10.

Here’s Ford’s point guard-by-point guard breakdown from January.

There’s a good chance the best player available at 15 is a point guard.

My pick is Lawson. He plays fast and can shoot from the outside. When I saw him play, he just looked like he belonged in the NBA. He had the swagger and the talent.

Free agent class of 2010

The Pistons’ long-term strategy isn’t clear yet. But almost every other team in the league is shooting for the summer of 2010. It’s tough to believe Dumars won’t be in position to snag at least one free agent.

The top free agents will be looking for money (which Detroit can have available) and a winning team. Here’s a look at the players who could become unrestricted free agents next summer:

Point guard: Steve Nash

Shooting guard: Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, Joe Johnson, Michael Redd, Tracy McGrady

Small forward: LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Richard Jefferson

Power forward: Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki

Center: Yao Ming, Tyson Chandler

Doesn’t one position look light? The Pistons probably won’t be landing a top free agent point guard in 2010. Since they could get a top player at any other position, it makes sense to target a point guard now.

Conclusion

It appears very important the Pistons have a quality point guard going forward, and the draft could be a good way to make that more likely. If a good point is available at 15, the pick seems to make sense.

16 Comments

  • May 26, 200912:46 pm
    by Charles

    Reply

    I like your rationale on this subject. One thing you didn’t mention about this draft is not only is on heavy on point guards, it is really light on bigs. No one outside of Thabeet and Hill will be better then what the Pistons already have.

    http://therookiecontract.com/

    • May 26, 20092:29 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Exactly. B.J. Mullens is the only center projected to go near 15. And he’s a huge project.

  • May 26, 20091:05 pm
    by BMer

    Reply

    Wow, Steve Nash is so good you listed him twice!

    good article.

  • May 26, 20093:48 pm
    by toasterhands

    Reply

    Eric Maynor is the guy. I think he’s a Dumars kind of guy, a little outside of the box.

    Oh, and I won’t tell Gilbert or Baron that you excluded them from the point guard list in favor of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry.

  • May 26, 20096:05 pm
    by ice_for_dyess

    Reply

    “But he’s young and will improve. Taking the ball out of his hands doesn’t seem to be the best way to jumpstart his aggressiveness.”

    Interesting point, though true. I kinda feel though that if we put him in at SG at times that it will actually maybe help to jump start his scoring output and his overall game. As we all witnessed there were times this season where he was horrible, and didn’t produce for us. Part of it was like you said the balancing act he had with AI and RIP. And also like you said if we play at a faster pace it could help ease tensions, I think if we’re playing at a faster pace, it’s gonna kinda make Stuckey have to produce when he’s playing at the 2 and he’ll get more touches and HOPEFULLY get more comfortable shooting it from farther out.

    • May 28, 20092:17 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      I know there’s very little defense, but Stuckey looked good at point guard in the rookie-sophomore game, for whatever that’s worth.

      • May 28, 200910:38 pm
        by ice_for_dyess

        Reply

        I didn’t get to watch the game, but since you mentioned it, I went and looked at the box score, 12 and 9 in 24 minutes are good stats, though the 9 assists is probably a bit inflated considering it’s such a fast paced game. I agree that he can still be better then he was this year at pg, it’s gonna be interesting to see next year.
        You know it’s interesting looking at our team statistics on espn, looking at our numbers we actually seemed like a decent to good team based on the stats, which would make it weird to see how ineffective this team was this past season. To me a key for this team this offseason is we need to get faster, if it weren’t for the age of our starting PF and C we could actually be a fast team, part of this might be that I want to see this team run a bit.

        • Jun 3, 20097:00 pm
          by Dan Feldman

          Reply

          According to the Pythagorean win total listed on basketball-reference.com (based on points scored and allowed), the Pistons played like a 39.5-win team. I wouldn’t say they were worse than their numbers indicate.

  • Jun 1, 200910:57 pm
    by burt

    Reply

    I see your point.But with it so heavy in point guards.Cant they get one with one of the three 2nd round picks????? If there is 10 good ones in the draft chances are there my be one left.And why not address.down low with a good down low man , Say like Tyler Hansbrough????????

    • Jun 2, 200910:42 pm
      by Chris Noe

      Reply

      Hansborogh does sound good in the 2nd HUH Lawson And Hansborogh together again sounds good.P.S with an add like WADE YEA………

    • Jun 3, 20097:01 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Someone might slip, but 15 seems like a low enough pick to take advantage of the depth.

  • Jun 2, 200910:18 pm
    by Tony

    Reply

    Please, please, please draft Eric Maynor! He’s the point guard that Dumars thought Stuckey could be, move Hamilton to the 3 and let Prince back him up (you shouldn’t be a starter if you can’t attack off the dribble anyway) or move one of them in a trade. Maybe try to move up in the draft because Maynor will in the combine. Just finally get one right Joe….PLEASE!

  • Jun 2, 200910:36 pm
    by Chris Noe

    Reply

    If the Pistons pass up on Lawson if he is still available it would be another year like passing up Wade and Carmillo.I think Lawson is the best in the draft.

  • [...] point guard at the #15 pick?  All things considered Dan over at Piston Powered thinks it makes sense if a quality floor general is there for the [...]

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