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Detroit Pistons should run more, even if it leads to more losses like last night’s to the Chicago Bulls in the short term

Let’s start with this: the Pistons are amazingly bad right now.

After a 120-87 loss to the Bulls last night, Detroit’s 13th straight defeat, it’s tough to find ways this team can get back on track. The Pistons’ defense was so bad, at times, I couldn’t even tell who was supposed to be defending the Chicago shooter.

But maybe, just maybe, there was a silver lining in the game.

It’s not a quick fix. In fact, it might make the losing streak more likely to continue. But it could help the Pistons in the long-term.

Increasing the tempo might make Rodney Stuckey a quality point guard.

You can argue all you want about whether the Pistons should’ve signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva or drafted Austin Daye. But in Dumars’ plan, those seem to be peripheral moves.

The real centerpiece of the franchise’s rebuilding is Stuckey’s development.

I think this team was built on Stuckey being Detroit’s best player. Gordon, Villanueva and Daye would be role players if all goes to plan. Dumars definitely sees something in Stuckey.

Of course, that plan can change. But last night’s loss might have been an indication Plan A will still work.

Stuckey the point guard

Stuckey has played his best this season at shooting guard next to Chucky Atkins. Many thought the Pistons would be better off shifting to Plan B: building around Stuckey as a shooting guard – or even Plan C: trading Stuckey.

But he showed a good deal of point guard skill in last night’s loss. Before the game, Stuckey said the Pistons would run more, and they did. Their 95 possessions were well above their season average of 91.4.

Stuckey, who’s struggled at times with decision-making, looked much more comfortable in the faster tempo.

He had five assists in 30 minutes, which doesn’t really stand out. But four of those led to baskets near the rim, according to Hoop Data. That’s the second-most assists leading to a close basket per 36 minutes Stuckey has had this year.

I’d say that statistic is more telling about how good a job Stuckey did at setting up his teammates than just simple assists.

Stuckey also had a turnover rate of 10.4, which was below his season average (11.3).

He wasn’t Jason Kidd or Steve Nash. But he wasn’t … searching for a point guard who doesn’t facilitate his team’s offense well … um … Rodney Stuckey.

The short-term downside

Early in the game, it seemed like every time Stuckey touched the ball, he pushed the tempo. And it seemed every possession that went through Richard Hamilton ended with the shot clock running down.

If the Pistons commit to running right now, there will be some problems. The awkward mix of players who are adept at running and those who aren’t might confuse opposing defenses. But if last night’s game is any indication, it will confuse the Pistons more.

A lot of the team is used to playing at a snail’s pace, especially Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. Prince sat out this game with an injury, but when he returns, the Pistons will probably be even more resistant to running.

But, at this point, the immediate issues probably wouldn’t even be noticed. What are they going to do, lose another 13 games in a row?

At least this might give their long-term plan of building around Stuckey at point guard its best chance of succeeding. If running fails, well, what is there to lose?

5 Comments

  • Jan 12, 20109:12 am
    by Chris Wasson

    Reply

    Running in DETROIT, are we serious? I know we have this new, youthful core, but the Detroit style of play, is a slower paced, defensive game, we have a team of fifteen players, but only 3, or 4 that have any type of defensive skill set. Wallace, Prince, Maxiel, & Hamilton, maybe Brown if he got to play. I’ve seen multiple articles about Rodney Stuckey taking over, Rodney Stuckey says we’re running, the game of basket ball is not about one person & their agenda, it is a team game, & I don’t see a team player in stuckey. The 2004 team was a selfless team, is that a repeat, dominate team no, but if you look at what the players brought, not who they were you see the value. The point position is not to be abused or used as primary scorer, Stuckey is a better Two Gaurd at best, and a better fit on another team. In all honesty Will Bynum does better at the point and even the Vet Chucky Atkins. Joe Dumars needs to stop looking at Stuckey as the future and look at what he has done, you took the best leader in Billups, shipped in a problem in Iverson, didn’t take advantage of his hype (could’ve traded him for a true center), drafted great in Daye, Jerebko, & Summers (who we never see), signed a pretty good coach, brought back a legend in Wallace, signed a good streaky shooter in Gordon, kept to of the best pieces in Hamilton & Prince, but turned over the team to a hot head who was not ready & probably will never be as a Piston. Joe Dumars needs to accept the fact Rodney Stuckey is not the nest Joe D, or CB, he’s a over glorified Two Gaurd at best, who isn’t helping this team at all. Trade Stuckey, & a bench warmer & get a true Center. Bynum/Atkins (1), Hamilton/Gordon/Summers (2), Prince/Daye/Jerebko/Summers (3), Wallace/Vilinueav/Maxiel (4) ?/Brown/Wilcox(5) that’s a better lineup that could win games it’s that simple. Stuckey his atitude & his game hurt more than it helps, he might be a bright spot, but hes not illuminating the team, just himself, Stuckey = Darko a bust in the D, great somewhere else.

  • Jan 12, 20109:14 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    I think this team was built on Stuckey being Detroit’s best player. Gordon, Villanueva and Daye would be role players if all goes to plan. Dumars definitely sees something in Stuckey.

    That is what scares me, Dan, that Dumars would spend so much money to build around a completely unproven player who has yet to be consistently good, let alone great.

    I hope to goodness you’re right about Stuckey being able to improve in a faster paced offense … because if not, we’re SOL for this year and the next.

  • Jan 12, 201011:49 am
    by ice_for_dyess

    Reply

    Posting between classes, but if Stuckey doesn’t improve soon we’re SOL for the next few years b/c JoeD seems to have a love fest about the kid being our future, if he’s our future well then I’m switching to the Thunder right now.
    More bitching from me later perhaps after class.

  • Jan 12, 20102:58 pm
    by Scott

    Reply

    I am in favor of them running as much as possible all the time, if only because if it REALLY doesn’t work then they will end up with a higher lottery pick and a better shot at john wall.

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