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Rodney Stuckey continues to impress at point guard

Has Rodney Stuckey finally made the jump? I haven’ always been sold on Stuckey as the cornerstone of the franchise. Maybe he never will be a franchise player, but Stuckey has quietly been playing his best ball of the season ever since the “incident” at the shootaround in Philadelphia.

Stuckey finished the game with 19 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and just two turnovers. In his last four games, since moving to point guard, he’s averaging 20.75 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

It’s obviously a small sample size, but only three other players in the league are averaging 20+ points and 8+ assists per game this season. None of those players – all point guards – are averaging more than five rebounds per game.

Stuckey’s made more assists in a four-game stretch just three times previously – once in February 2010 and three times in December 2008.

He’s grabbed more rebounds in a four-game stretch just five times previously – once in February 2010 and three times in November 2009.

Stuckey had never posted those rebounding and assist numbers in the same four-game stretch before now.

In his last six games, he’s averaging 20.5 points per game. In his last seven games, Stuckey’s averaging, 20.1 points per game. He hasn’t bested either mark since December 2009.

Stuckey may never become Chauncey Billups, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that he’s just 24 years old and has had to play in systems (read: slow, veteran pace) that don’t fit his play style.

With Tracy McGrady seemingly no longer in the rotation, Stuckey will get every opportunity to prove he’s the team’s present and future at point guard. So far, he’s doing just that.

Charlie Villanueva shows his potential, explodes off the bench

At this point in his career, Charlie Villanueva might be what he is – a bench player who can come in cold and score in bunches. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many NBA players earn very nice paychecks doing the same thing.

But you can’t help but think that Joe Dumars and the rest of Pistons management had bigger plans for Villanueva when they signed him in the summer of 2009.

Villanueva came off the bench to score all 16 of his points in a span of 7:36 in the second quarter, and he grabbed four rebounds, as well. But he didn’t score again tonight. He also grabbed only one more rebound in the second half.

Additionally, eight of Villanueva’s 11 field-goal attempts were 3-pointers. Although Villanueva seemed to have the “hot hand,” it would have been nice to see him in the low post, where he’s very hard to stop.

Pistons’ small forwards dominate

With Tayshaun Prince’s return to the lineup, Austin Daye once again came off the bench. And both brought it, albeit in different ways.

Prince had one of his better games of the season, leading Detroit with 20 points on 10-19 shooting in 37 minutes with solid, consistent play throughout. It’s games like this that make re-signing Prince seem like a viable and sensible option.

But then there’s Daye.

Daye, in just 18 minutes, poured in 12 points (5-6 shooting), five boards, two assists and three blocks in 18 minutes. And he continued his season-long trend of knocking down clutch shots as he scored five of his points in a span of 36 seconds near the end of the fourth quarter.

Although he’s more known for his smooth stroke, Daye’s energy and hustle were also on display. He drew offensive fouls, blocked three shots (including a chase-down block from behind) and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Daye still struggles on defense, but he might be the Piston with the most potential and upside.

If Prince is ultimately not on the roster next season, then perhaps these sporadic glimpse of Daye’s potential will become a nightly occurrence.

17 Comments

  • Mar 7, 20116:27 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    I love seeing the pistons win as much as the next guy but if we do the same thing as last year and start winning meaningless games at the end of the season and ruin our chances to get at least a top 5 pick then i will be disappointed. I want them to win but the drafting system favors teams that have the worst record. We know what we have in Wallace, Hamilton, McGrady & Prince. Unless we are shopping any of these guys then play the young kids. Oh that might actually be a bad idea cause they might actually win most of the remaining games and push us out to a 10th or 12th pick.

    • Mar 7, 201110:24 am
      by Jeremy

      Reply

      I know what you mean, but I think you always have to root to win. There’s more going on than just a draft pick.
       
      Anyways, we got Monroe at #7 last year.

      • Mar 7, 201110:53 am
        by Steve Kays

        Reply

        @Jeremy
        No doubt. I’m not advocating all-out tanking, but that is the struggle in the NBA. It’s always nice to win, but not if it gets your team stuck in that 33-37 win range. That’s no mans land in the league – too few wins to make the playoffs, and too many to get a high draft pick.
        Monroe has been great this year, but Detroit was lucky Golden State took Udoh at #6 and that Monroe fell to #7.
        The Pistons won three of their last few games last season, which cost them lottery balls, which may have cost them DeMarcus Cousins. It would be bad to go through this dismal season and end up with the #9 pick in an already weak draft.
         

  • Mar 7, 20117:27 am
    by Tom Y.

    Reply

    @gmehl1977 Gotta say I really enjoyed this win, even though I’ve been pro-tanking for a while.
    Our draft position will very likely be in the 7-9 range – I don’t think we’re gonna sink lower than NJ, so the 7th spot will be between us, Milwaukee and the Clippers.

  • Mar 7, 20118:36 am
    by Tim Thielke

    Reply

    It seems obvious that the young guys should be getting more burn now, regardless of whether that means Detroit wins more or less. Quite frankly, this seems like the wrong season to tank as it looks like a draft prospect can easily go third or fifteenth in mocks. But yeah, I am hoping that Milwaukee and LA manage to stay ahead of Detroit. And there is still a chance of the Nets passing the Pistons too just because of DWill.

    • Mar 7, 20119:47 am
      by gmehl1977

      Reply

      I agree that you could probably get a good prospect from 5th to 15th but i would much rather we have an earlier choice than a later one (control our own destiny so to speak). I am not big on the whole tanking thing but it just seems the draft system rewards you for mediocrity. The pistons have never been a team to tank and i don’t expect to see them do it this year either. It kind of sucks for us fans because we have had to put up with losing all year and then the team will probably win a couple in a row to drop us down a couple of slots in the draft which makes us feel like losers again come draft day.
       
      It would be nice if the NBA could rectify the idea of tanking by not reward non-playoff teams for losing. I actually have a couple of ideas to fix tanking. 1) All the non-playoff teams should have there own playoff series to play for extra balls in the lottery. 2) Reward the team that comes 9th in its conference with a couple of extra balls in the lottery.
       
      I suppose anything to give the non-playoff teams an incentive to win.

      • Mar 7, 201111:15 am
        by Tim

        Reply

        I agree that there should be more incentive to win. But I think a large chunk of it is that the more you win, typically the more fans go to games which increases profit. As for a reward in the lottery, I’ve always thought that the lottery should go through all 14 picks. So you still have odds to get a higher pick if you have a worse record, but any lottery team could end up in any draft position. It would make the lottery more exciting and diminish the value of tanking. But rewarding say the team that comes in 9th would defeat the point of the lottery redistributing talent by upping the odds of the worst teams. It is up to the GMs to concentrate on building for the present or the future and not get stuck in between.

  • Mar 7, 20119:18 am
    by swish22

    Reply

    Stuckey has played well since the break but we have played 3 very  weak teams the last 3 games.  He did get on the floor for a ball and looked to lead a little more.  HEs still a shooting guard to me!

    Villanueva is a different story all together.  Go back and watch some film anytime he takes a corner 3 he gets beaten down the floor by 5 friggin yards as hes admiring his shot!  When we have the ball offensively on transition its a different story.  He runs down looking for a 3.  HE brings so little to the table with his occasional hot hand shooting 3′s.  As far as being a consistent post scorer YOU CAN’T BE THAT SOFT AND CONSISTENTLY SCORE ON THE BLOCK AGAINST STRONGER PLAYERS!  Hes a 3 point shooter and thats it.  Even though he shot the ball well last night we were still -2 with him on the floor.   If the Pistons ever return to being a quality team you’ll see the great coaches in the league attack him relentlessly.  I can only hope he finds a solid place on the end of the bench once the ultimate hustler/team player JJ returns!  

  • Mar 7, 20119:23 am
    by Alex

    Reply

    It seems like Stuckey is the only real difference maker we have.  When he’s good, we win more often than not.  I’d be interested if Dan could run some numbers and see what our W/L is and point differential is against other teams when Stuckey has a good game compared to when the rest of the team has good games.

  • Mar 7, 201112:02 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    Stuckey already fooled me once, twice, and ten more times. How many articles analyzing some 4-5 game stretch in Stuckey’s career have their been? How many comparisons and projections can you make on one player, especially one 4 years into his career? I’ll believe it when I see it. Same for CV. Dude comes to play once every 10 games. Everyone sees all this potential when players go off for a night or two but we have way too many inconsistent players. Too many jump shooters. Too many guys that don’t do the dirty work.
     
    I don’t care much about the record. The 7th-10th pick is pretty much guaranteed, although that 7th pick gives the best odds of winning the lottery. I would like to see guys play well…and maintain it game in game out to end the season. That would probably be more enjoyable.

  • Mar 7, 20111:17 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    The one thing that’s been missing in the discussion of Stuckey remains … if you evaluate a point guard based on assists, then you are not just evaluating a point guards ability to distribute but also the ability of his team mates to finish. Suddenly Stuckey is a better point guard, but he’s also not having to carry three pieces of offensive dead weight on his shoulders (Hamilton, Wallace and Maxiel). I think surround Stuckey with athletes who can catch the damn ball and let them run and you’ll be surprised by how much better he suddenly looks. Having said that, Hamilton has gotten into the spirit by trying to run more in the last few games as well. As has been the case for years, nothing good ever happens when he does this however.

  • [...] • Hey! The Pistons have discovered, again, that they have a talented young guard to whom they might want to give the ball once in a while! Welcome back to prominence, Rodney Stuckey. [...]

  • Mar 8, 20116:46 pm
    by Red Panda

    Reply

    Mike Payne : Steve Kays :: Neil Kinnock : Joe Biden
     
    Who plagiarizes a biography? Weak!

  • Mar 8, 20117:05 pm
    by Red Panda

    Reply

    A red panda : bloodthirsty killing :: Steve Kays : obvious plagiarizing

  • Mar 8, 20117:40 pm
    by Red Panda

    Reply

    Like most red pandas, I’m a Detroit Pistons fan who doesn’t actually believe other sports exist.

    • Mar 8, 20117:53 pm
      by Red Panda

      Reply

      Sorry Steve Kays, I stole that bio/tagline from you, but I guess if you plagiarized it I can too!

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