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Drag Race: Rodney Stuckey vs. Arron Afflalo

This is the latest in a feature called “Drag Race.” Patrick and I pit two players, one Piston and one non, against each other with the question in mind: Which would you rather have on your team? Age, salary, everything count. For free agents, assume the players receive similar contracts.

Scroll past the post, and there’s a poll for you to vote.

Rodney Stuckey

Rodney Stuckey plays better than Arron Afflalo.

Who is better? That’s a much tougher question.

Afflalo is asked to do much less than Stuckey, and he does less better than Stuckey does more. Tasked with taking three more shots per game – or eight more using 2009-10 figures – Afflalo’s sterling shooting percentage would certainly dip. To Stuckey levels? That’s unclear.

Stuckey usually plays point guard and is tasked with running the offense, something Afflalo has never done. That Stuckey’s turnover percentage approaches Afflalo’s is a credit to Stuckey, considering how much more Stuckey handles the ball than Afflalo.

Afflalo is a much better defender, but Stuckey has the tools to defend about as well and sometimes flashes them. Maybe if Stuckey exerted himself less offensively, as Afflalo does, he’d defend better.

To me, the distinction comes in athleticism, where Stuckey has a clear edge. He’s stronger and faster, and that gives him an edge.

Afflalo has done an excellent job becoming a well-rounded player, but more likely than not, he’s at his peak right now. I can’t say the same about Stuckey.

I also can’t say which is a better basketball player right now, and for that reason, I’ll take the one with more potential.

-Dan Feldman

Arron Afflalo

As funny as it sounds after he’s been in the league four years, Rodney Stuckey is still the better prospect.

Afflalo is older, he’s strictly a shooting guard, and although he’s very good at the skills he possesses, he has a fairly limited offensive repertoire when it comes to creating his own shot. Stuckey is one of the strongest, most athletic point guards in the league (if he’s actually still considered a point guard) and he’s incrementally improved each season he’s been in the league.

But I’d still take Afflalo. I respect his defense and work ethic and giving him away to clear cap space to overpay lesser players will forever be one of the biggest mistakes Joe Dumars has made. Afflalo’s toughness, defense and willingness to work on his game, not to mention his cheap cost, would’ve been the pillars of a successful rebuilding effort in Detroit.

Stuckey, meanwhile, was overhyped, not fully committed to defense and is the symbol of a sputtering rebuilding effort that still has a ways to go before the Pistons are back in contention again.

-Patrick Hayes

Vote in our poll

Previously

Greg Monroe vs. DeMarcus Cousins

21 Comments

  • Dec 1, 20118:49 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Afflalo for me everyday all day. He has/had piston written all over him. He plays hard every night and wears his heart on his sleeve. I bet you Joe wishes he could have a do over on that mistake.

  • Dec 1, 20119:40 pm
    by SD

    Reply

    I don’t know how the new guard combo will work here, should be exicting though.  I think it would be nice to have Affalo here instead of some shooting guards we have now.  But listen when you try to take over a team that has a lot of older vets on top of filling Chauncy’s shoes that is a lot to ask.  Stucky wasn’t a top 5, shoot top 10 pick!!  Yet he is still growing, has more up side than Affalo in many areas and I can’t wait to see it pan out.

  • Dec 1, 20119:52 pm
    by rob

    Reply

    When the Pistons first drafted both, all I heard going into the pre-season was how great Stuckey looked. When I finally saw both play all I could think was how great Afflalo looked, and Stuckey did nothing to impress me. Afflalo defended, played with a high IQ, and made open shots when called upon. Considering this was still in the midst of the ‘beasts of the easts’ Pistons teams, those were the 3 qualities I was most used to seeing from our players nightly. So to see it out of a rookie in his first game, with little to no drop-off in those areas from when Rip came out of the game, I was very impressed.

    Stuckey missed open shots, made dumb turnovers, and didn’t look like he knew where he was supposed to be on defense, in comparison to Afflalo.

    He earned my respect in the playoffs when he filled for Chauncey and won a round 2nd playoff series against ORL. But since then, he really hasn’t done much to impress. And Afflalo has been strong and steady every game since his first as a rookie.

    Seeing that Stuckey is now likely to return as our SG, I’d much rather have Afflalo at that position than Stuckey.

  • Dec 1, 201110:50 pm
    by SD

    Reply

    Kobe, Lebron, Magic a list of players couldn’t shoot who are strong fast and athletic.  But they all got it eventually.  When Stuck adds the three ball this we will look back at this debate and say really??  The point is Affalo has peaked and will maybe get to Bruce Bowen status.  Stucky has not peaked yet and is one of the strongest guards in the league.  Add the speed and a three ball and just watch and see.

    • Dec 1, 201111:30 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Kobe, Lebron, Magic a list of players couldn’t shoot who are strong fast and athletic.  But they all got it eventually.  When Stuck adds the three ball this we will look back at this debate and say really??”

      Haha. Pump the breaks my friend. I think Stuckey can and probably will still improve, although it might take a change of scenery for him to do it. But he’s been in the league four years and played big minutes. Chances are, he’s not getting much better than he is right now. He’s an occasionally effective combo guard. As Mike Payne said below, he’d be a beast in a sixth man role backing up both guard spots, but if he’s a starter and one of your best players, as he was for the Pistons the last couple years, then your team will not be very good.

      And Afflalo is already a better all-around player than Bruce Bowen.

  • Dec 1, 201110:55 pm
    by SD

    Reply

    Stucky has 3 1000+ point seasons                               Affalo has 0 1000+ point seasons

  • Dec 1, 201111:07 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    “Afflalo’s sterling shooting percentage would certainly dip. To Stuckey levels? That’s unclear.”
     
    Not unclear– “very, very unlikely”.
     
    “Afflalo is a much better defender, but Stuckey has the tools to defend about as well and sometimes flashes them.”
     
    Stuckey is really bad at defending shooting guards.  Afflalo is really good at defending shooting guards.  Stuckey has a size advantage over point guards, but loses his advantage over the players that Afflalo is so excellent at defending.  No, Stuckey does not have the tools to defend as well as Afflalo, not at all.
     
    It’s difficult to compare the two players because they play different positions.  But Afflalo is a truly great defender, Stuckey is great at nothing, just average.  Stuckey may be well-rounded, moreso than Afflalo, but that has never translated into success in Detroit.  Afflalo, on the other hand, can shoot efficiently, defend excellently, and can switch roles between fifth option and second option while staying true to his position.  Stuckey, on the other hand, has been a failure with a few occasional flashes of promise.
     

  • Dec 1, 201111:12 pm
    by ryan

    Reply

    Arron Afflalo is my pick all the way. This isn’t to say that I dislike Rodney Stuckey just that I like Scrabble much better. He’s made clear progress on his game and he was already a useful player because of his defense. I feel confident that he’s not going anywhere but up from here because of his past record of hard work.
     
    I really don’t know what’s going to happen with Rodney Stuckey but I’m still hopeful since he’s sort of on our roster. If Joe Dumars could somehow sucker Denver into Afflalo for (has) Ben Gordon it’d make up for his initial mistake.

    • Dec 1, 201111:40 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I agree about AA’s progress. Afflalo came into the league as a fairly known commodity defensively. Many of the scouting reports on him suggested he’d struggle offensively in the NBA. But dude has worked on his game and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to get better at that end of the court as well.

      As for Stuckey, considering what they’ve invested in him as far as minutes, role and who they traded to open a starting spot for him, I would hate to see Detroit lose him for nothing in free agency. But I’d also hate to see them overpay for him and I am skeptical that Stuckey really wants to be in Detroit.

  • Dec 1, 201111:19 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    Continuing my last comment.  If I was a GM and I had the choice of any shooting guard in the league to sign to a modest contract, I’d choose either Arron Afflalo or Eric Gordon.  Both are the ideal shooting guard to play alongside the new breed of strong, iso-heavy point guards.  Afflalo and Gordon are premier defenders, capable even of switching to the 3 in a pinch, and can hit from just about anywhere on the floor with ridiculous efficiency.  Give me Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, etc, and my first choice would be to pair them with either Afflalo or Gordon.  Any other player is either older, too expensive, too ball-dominant (kobe, wade, etc).  Guys like Afflalo/Gordon are the type of players Joe Dumars once built unassuming champions out of.
     
    Stuckey on the other hand…  I wouldn’t put him on the starting lineup of any team I’d build as a GM.  He’d be a brilliant sixth man, but the guy just isn’t a starter on a team that matters.

    • Dec 1, 201111:41 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Eric Gordon is such a beast. Love watching that dude.

    • Dec 2, 20113:47 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Comparing Afflalo to Gordon is like comparing Holiday to Rose.

  • Dec 2, 20111:13 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    agree with almost every word that P. Hayes has written on this post.  have disagreed about other stuff, but you are absolutely, positively on target about these two guys.
     

  • Dec 2, 20111:17 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    one other thing about stuckey that i actually hate to bring up, but it is just necessary to mention.
    i wonder how smart stuckey is.  if he was as smart as afflalo, with his physical gifts, god knows how good he would be.
    but he did have that problem coming out of high school, where he couldn’t qualify for a major college because of academic reasons, and when you watch him play…well, intelligence just isn’t one of the things that comes to mind.

  • Dec 2, 20112:29 am
    by bitabadaboo

    Reply

    Frankie D that was a horrible thing to say, period.  I will agree that having a three headed monster of Stuckey, Afflalo, and Knight would’ve been awesome, and yes in trading Aaron Jpe did screw the pooch, it’s a done deal so get over it. We still have two of them and lest we forget about another young super athletic strong guard by the name of Terrico White, we still may posses a trifecta of guards to be reckoned with going foward, that is if you fools don’t piss Rodney off with your yearning for coulda woulda shouldas.  The sad fact is the minute he didn’t become Chuancey-like enough for you people you started ragging the poor kid and haven’t let up. well I am here to let it be known, the future starts here and now and in my estimation with Stuckey, Knight, and White we have Strength, Speed, and Athleticism out the azz, and that is without any development at all.  Now imagine the possibilities with some encouragement, consistant coaching, and time to build chemistry……HMMMMM. If you don’t agrre than cool, but still no need to be underhandedly calling people stupid all that will do is drive prospects away…DUH

  • Dec 2, 20112:37 am
    by bitabadaboo

    Reply

    And yeah I made some typos, but you smell me, so really think about it, yesterday is gone, and now the rebuilding begins, and tho Stuckey aint the super-star many hoped for, he’s a damn good young piece and the only link to yesterday worth keeping on this squad aside from Big Ben.

  • Dec 2, 20117:00 am
    by Murph

    Reply

    I had a hard time with this, but I voted for Stuckey.

    However, IMO, a more useful comparison would have been between Aaron Afflalo and Ben Gordon, Afflalo’s eventual replacement on the team.

    If that drag race had been conducted, I’m guessing Afflalo would have won by a huge margin.

    • Dec 2, 20119:14 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Well, part of the way we come up with the matchups for these drag race write-ups is that they actually have to be two players Dan and I disagree on. Other than Jodi Jezz, I don’t think we could find anyone who would argue Ben Gordon over Afflalo at this point.

  • Dec 2, 20111:43 pm
    by John

    Reply

    I voted for Stuckey over Arron. I don’t think Joe should have traded him because he would be an upgrade over Gorden, Bynum, and Rip (I think Knight will be better in the long run).

    I voted that way because I think Stuckey has more upside. So far he has 3 coaches in 4 seasons, two of which Curry and Kuester who were in over their heads, while trying to learn to be an NBA point guard and that has to have held him back a bit. Arron had an advantage of going to UCLA, and then going to denver under George Karl who I’d take over flip and has been put in a better position to succeed. Hopefully Frank can do the same for Stuckey.

  • Dec 3, 20115:38 pm
    by Youssif

    Reply

    I know this doesn’t necessarily mean Afflalo is “better” than Stuckey, but I can definitely see Afflalo starting on a championship team one day. Not sure I can say the same about Stuckey.

    I was in disbelief when they traded Afflalo for nothing, but figured Dumars saw more behind the scenes than I did on TV. Add that blunder as yet more fuel for us armchair GM’s who think we could do better ;)

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