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Is shooting guard Rodney Stuckey’s best position?

With Rip Hamilton gone and Brandon Knight the point guard of the future, Rodney Stuckey is sure to get minutes at both guard spots this season. In fact, many fans would like to see Stuckey become primarily a shooting guard. Mike Payne at Detroit Bad Boys gives some thoughts on Stuckey as a two:

Here’s the thing fans should come to grips with before the season starts: Rodney Stuckey is not the answer at shooting guard. His title as a “combo guard” relates to his inability to fit into a modern NBA position, it does not suggest an ability to adequately produce at multiple positions. His size advantage is lost at the two, and without the ball in his hand, he’s an offensive liability as well. The idea that Stuckey might work at shooting guard has been passed around by fans for years now, but sadly, it just isn’t reflected in this player’s style or body of work. If Stuckey’s past performance at shooting guard continues this year, let’s hope Lawrence Frank is quick to adjust for the sake of the team and the fans that support it.

That basically sums up how I feel about Stuckey. As a point guard, despite so-so results at the position in his career, he still has an elite mix of size, strength and quickness for the position. He’s bigger and stronger than most ones he will face and he’s gotten better and better at drawing contact against small players. At shooting guard? His skillset is more average among NBA twos. That doesn’t mean Stuckey is a bad player or can’t be effective at the two for stretches, but Payne is right: to this point in his career, there is little evidence that Stuckey is the full-time answer at either position.

The caveat here, though, is that despite being in the league for four seasons, Stuckey has gotten a bit better each season and he’s still only 25-years-old. Personally, I still believe Stuckey’s best position is at the point, although if he becomes some sort of hybrid guard off the bench where he can come in and play the position where he can best use his physical advantages on a game-to-game basis that might be the ideal role for him.

26 Comments

  • Dec 20, 201110:40 am
    by domnick

    Reply

    I agree that Stuckey is best at 1… not 2… unless he is Chauncey Billups…
     
    again… Stuckey can be like chauncey billups… but its good to see him play both positions.. and if we can also play 3 guard formation… then that will benefit Stuckey, Knight and BG or Bynum…

  • Dec 20, 201111:01 am
    by jake

    Reply

    i agree 110% with you patrick. i’ve said for a while now that stuckey’s best position is just being a combo guard off the bench. his strength and size advantages are all but lost at the 2-guard spot. he did get a chance, if i remember correctly, to start at the 2 for a short stretch back in 2010 while we were hit with a glut of injuries (atkins started at the point). he played horribly. granted, we didn’t have the best supporting cast out there, it was still an ugly sight.

    • Dec 20, 20114:35 pm
      by rick77

      Reply

      Can u make your own observation? I mean when did Ben Gordon grow to be 6’5? He is at a disadvantage if he starts so please tell me why Patrick is so wise with his assertion that? Just piggybacking off someone elses opinion. Stuckey should play the point and I do not care who gets mad because you know what? We just drafted our first big man who can bang down low last year. It would be different if Stuck had been playing four years with same coach and a bevy of bigs that produce in the paint, but he hasn’t. The jury is still out and I am willing to give this man the benefit of the doubt because he may finally have stability at the coaching spot. If the one does not work then work him in at the two but do not start Gordon. Whoever he is guarding will go “HAM” on his non defensive playing a$$.

      • Dec 20, 20114:48 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Rick, I have no idea what you are trying to say in this garbled mess of a comment. Saying that Stuckey might not be the future shooting guard has nothing to do with Ben Gordon. I don’t have all that much faith that Stuckey will ever be an above average starter, but that certainly doesn’t mean I think Ben Gordon is a better option.

        • Dec 20, 20116:13 pm
          by detroitpcb

          Reply

          There is no way Ben Gordon is a better option than Stuckey at the two guard. Stuckey can take any two in the league off the dribble with his quicks and he is strong enough to finish over bigger players. He still needs to get better at the rim but he is picking up whistles and he should continue to get thiose calls. Ben Gordon cannot guard anyone in the backcourt. Too slow to stay in front of point guards, too small to stop shooting guards from firing over the top. He is a defensive catasrophy. And on the offensive end he has shown nothing in Detroit other than clanging open jumpers, getting stuck taking high degree of difficulty shots at the end of the shot clock because he failed to rotate the ball to an open player, and making careless turnovers.

          I do not know how anybody says Ben Gordon is a better option than Stuck at the two. The most dangerous player on the court is the man who is always looking to take you off the dribble. You saw that the other night with Irving.

          Stuckey over Gordon anyday.

          • Dec 20, 20116:34 pm
            by Ant

            Ben Gordon has already proven that he can take a team deap into the playoffs with the Chicago Bulls, but he hasnt had a true opertunity yet with the Pistons and i think he had potential to do it again. Stuck has had years to do the same and has yet to do that! Hes an average player with a big head is all that hes proven thus far!

  • Dec 20, 201111:24 am
    by Jeremy

    Reply

    The offensive playbook needs to be considered when discussing Stuckey at the 2. He isn’t a catch and shoot player like Rip. He is the type of player that needs to slash (without the ball) or drive (with the ball) to the hole. He needs other “shooters” out there to spread the floor for this to happen and we have all seen this. The problem with Stuckey is he isn’t a good decision maker, so putting him at the 2 alleviates him from decision making and still gives him the ability to play the way he wants to. He is a score first player (which is fine) and needs someone else to distribute the ball to the other players.

    • Dec 20, 20112:18 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      SGs don’t have to make good decisions?

    • Dec 20, 20112:38 pm
      by Mike Payne

      Reply

      The problem, Jeremy, is that Stuckey needs control of the ball to score inefficiently.  At SG, he’s not bringing the ball up the court and he’s not in possession as often.  When a player’s gift is isolation plays, moving him off the ball is like cutting his hamstrings.

      • Dec 21, 201112:44 am
        by frankie d

        Reply

        not necessarily true.
        two players in particular come to mind who have been very successful.
        jamal crawford and jason terry.
        you can also put aaron brooks into that group.
        they are all combo guards who play best when they don’t have point guard responsibilities.
        jason terry is probably the best example of that type of player.  crawford can play that way also.
        however, the player stuckey reminds me of is actually latrell sprewell.  both players are/were extremely aggressive and had a nose for the rim.  spree operated best off the ball, in isos, where everyone and their mother knew he was going to take the ball and try and score.  he was still successful at it, even though he typically got the ball on the wing, on the perimeter, sized up his defender and went to work.
        frankly, the idea that stuckey cannot play off the ball is belied by his short history in detroit.  he has played his best basketball, when he has played off the ball.
        not quite sure how that is not apparent.
         

    • Dec 20, 20112:49 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “He is a score first player (which is fine) and needs someone else to distribute the ball to the other players.”

      But here’s the problem … you can look at basically everyone on the Pistons’ perimeter and say pretty much the same thing. Stuckey, Prince, Gordon, Bynum and Knight are all players used to dominating the ball and scoring out of isolation to varying levels of success. Which of those guys is going to be the distributor in this scenario?

      • Dec 20, 201110:17 pm
        by Domnick

        Reply

        well Stuckey is a better distributor.. and by looking on Stats… his assists numbers are getting better each season… so i would rather put stuckey as a starting point guard…. he just needs a better SG…. or if BG is going back to what he was….

  • Dec 20, 201111:34 am
    by omar

    Reply

    Right now, yeah his best position would be the 3rd guard off the bench like VJ.

    But in terms of not being able to be a starting SG, it all hinges on his ability to consistently make that 12-15 foot jumper.

    Thats all he needs to do to be a great starting SG. And I’ve seen an improvement in his jumpshot every year. His form is better and I had more confidence in him shooting last year, than the year before, and I expect that improvement to continue.

    Because Knight can shoot from anywhere, you don’t need Stuckey to be a great 3 pt shooter. Rip didnt really add the 3 pt shot to his game until after we won the championship.

    If Stuckey can just make the open-range jumper consistently, he’s already an elite-level penetrator. I think he can be a great SG. And as for his size, Joe D, who won 2 championships and is in the HOF, was shorter than Stuckey. So that argument is nil.

    On top of everything, he’s just better suited to catching the ball on the elbows and attacking from there in motion, rather than bringing the ball up the court, having to pass it out, then get it back with little time on the clock.

    His best talent is scoring. So why limit that ability by making him expend energy and thought on trying to run an offense? Just let him be free to do nothing but score, defend, and rebound, and not worry about running the whole offense, and he will be at his best, imo.

    • Dec 20, 20111:37 pm
      by Todd

      Reply

      Omar:

      You have posted my thoughts on Stuckey almost to a “T”. Stuckey’s best fit with the Pistons is that “Microwave” role. The first guard off the bench that can bring some serious scoring, create matchup problems and keep the defense honest against the second team.

      With that said, this illustrates the Pistons’ biggest issue – Roster management. Sliding Stuckey into this role has to happen simply because we don’t have another 2. We have three competent PGs (as that has been Stuckey’s main role with the team), we have a plethora of SFs, and we have a lack of Bigs.

      We basically have become a remake of the old days in Clipperland and Knick Village, from the vantage point that we are assured of having to play guys out of position simply because we are lacking talent to fill a decent 2-deep rotation. Further, we have a mismatch of styles on the team. On one sense you have PGs who are best suited to play a breakneck style, on the other you have SFs and Monroe, CV31, and Big Ben who are geared toward the half-court game. So what do you do?

      BLOW THE ROSTER UP! We either need to find some more wings and bigs who can run and finish or we have to get rid of guys like Stuck and Bynum.

  • Dec 20, 201111:36 am
    by neutes

    Reply

    What do you do? The current problem with Stuckey is that he is both the best PG and SG on the roster. A rookie PG is simply not going to be productive, and neither is Ben Gordon. Stuckey is best at PG so if you’re going for some cumulative level of goodness between the two positions then that’s where he should play. Problem here is then Knight doesn’t get enough run. So suck harder and develop Knight, or try to win and have Stuckey play point? Or ask yourself – will Knight be better at PG than Gordon is at SG? Does it matter? Does any of this matter?

  • Dec 20, 201111:48 am
    by vic

    Reply

    Stuckey’s only hope is to be a star is to imitate Rajon Rondo like he did late last season and be a drive & dish pg. he doesn’t shoot well enough to be a shooting guard.

    • Dec 20, 20117:32 pm
      by gmehl1977

      Reply

      I sort of agree with this. The only problem is that Rondo loves to pass whereas Stuckey only passes IF he has to :-(

  • Dec 20, 201111:57 am
    by Marvin Jones

    Reply

    The majority of the “point guards” that have come into the league the last 3 or 4 yrs are shooting guards that can handle the ball and they were the best players on their teams so the coacch made them the point guard. Stuckey, Rose, Westbrook, Jennings, Collison, K Walker, Teague, Holliday, Evans, they are all “shoot first point guards” that really can’t shoot all that well. If you notice they all try to get to the rim because tha’ts what they’ve done their whole careers. All of them are trying to become better shooters and better decision makers. Frank is correct in his assesment that the point guard position has changed dramatically in the last few years and in the future you’re probably going to hear more and more players being called guards, wings and bigs with no mention of PG or SG. I think Stuckey will be just fine being on the floor with the other guard with either one being able to initiate the offense and I think that’s the way Frank if goint to play it. 

  • Dec 20, 201112:24 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Stuckey will be OK at SG. He has time to develop a shot and he’s only 25 years old…besides Knight is already a pretty good shooter and Prince can stretch the floor and open the lane for Stuckey if need be, hell asuming we start JJ he can hit jump shots as well which will allow stuckey to run isolations. Stuckey/Knight will likely be our back court of the future and if you don’t like it then don’t watch and complain somewhere else

  • Dec 20, 20112:22 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    A major factor that made the great Pistons teams Dumars played on great was that Thomas and Dumars were interchangeable at the point. But when Thomas and VJ were not there, Dumars was no longer effective triggering the offense. I hope that Stuckey and Knight develop a similar synergy and quickly. If they do, the Pistons will have something significant to build from.

    • Dec 20, 20114:24 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      When Thomas (got hurt) and VJ and a bunch of other players were gone, the Pistons put the ball in Lindsey Hunter’s hands to watch him develop and Dumars, never the fastest player, had slowed down enough that he was actually better at running on offense out of the post, where he was quite adept at throwing behind the back passes into the paint or passing outside for a Terry Mills or Alan Houston three.  Grant Hill was right behind the Hunter/Houston draft and he quickly took over running the offense.

    • Dec 20, 20114:54 pm
      by BIG MARV

      Reply

      So you saying they should do the 3 guard rotation like they did in the 80′s and 90′s

  • Dec 20, 20114:17 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    I seem to remember Stuckey playing his best stretch of ball at the 2 when they were decimated by injuries 2 years ago with Will Bynum at the point.  During that abominable season, they went on a five game winning streak with a starting lineup of Bynum, Stuckey, Jerebko, Maxiell and Big Ben and Stuckey averaged over 25 points a game if I remember correctly. I always thought Stuckey would be most effective by learning to cut to the basket without the ball.   Food for thought.

  • Dec 20, 20114:51 pm
    by BIG MARV

    Reply

    IMO he’s more of a SG than a PG if the fans wanna see that “poor mans dwyane wade” factor then he would have to stay at SG. I just dont think Gordon wants to be a starter, and with knight and stuckey in the backcourt that should be an exciting duo.

  • Dec 21, 20111:03 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    the idea that a shooting/scoring guard has to be a good/great shooter is simply not true.
    there have been plenty of very good shooting/scoring guards who were not very good shooters.  what they did, however, was put the ball in the hole.  that is all that matters.  putting the ball in the hole.  sure, it helps if you are a good/great shooter, but there have been plenty of very good nba shooting guards who were average or less than average outside shooters.  but they had a knack for putting the ball in the basket.
    the best example of that in the last few years is latrell sprewell, a guy who scored a lot of points in lots of ways, but who was a lousy outside shooter.  but he was so aggressive going to the hole that he scored lots of points.
    another example is an old school player named ricky pierce, a sixth man of the year.  pierce could not hit a shot past about 12 feet.  fortunately, he was smart enough so that he hardly ever took a shot outside of the lane, so he had an excellent FG percentage, while he scored lots of points.
    scoring points, not having a pretty jump shot is the goal.  stuckey has shown he is more than capable of scoring points, even if it is in his own ugly way.

  • Dec 21, 20111:13 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    this is from john hollinger’s player profile on stuckey.
     
    “He’s also an and-1 machine. Stuckey draws a lot of fouls, ranking fourth among point guards in free throw attempts per field goal attempt, and he’s also quite strong and goes to the basket a lot. So, while surprising at first, it shouldn’t be a huge shock that he led all perimeter players in the percentage of shots turned into basket-and-1s (see chart) at 6 percent.
    Highest percentage of shots turned into And-1s, perimeter players, 2010-11

    Player Team Pct. of FGAs as And-1s

    Rodney Stuckey
    Det
    6.0

    Dwyane Wade
    Mia
    5.9

    Corey Maggette
    Mil
    5.2

    LeBron James
    Mia
    5.2

    Paul Pierce
    Bos
    4.7

    Source: Hoopdata.com. Min. 20 And-1s.

    Stuckey is good at backing down small guards for short turnarounds, which is also where he drew a lot of his fouls, but it’s not like he’s Magic Johnson down there; although he drew a ton of fouls, Stuckey’s 56.1 percent shooting in the basket area was actually below the league average for point guards.
    That’s still better than having him shoot from outside. Stuckey made 26 3-pointers the entire season and shot 36.6 percent on 2s beyond 10 feet. Opponents routinely conceded the shot to play him for the drive. The good news is his high free throw rate and solid stroke at the line (86.1 percent) still gave him a strong true shooting percentage. However, he’ll be a difficult player to use off the ball until or unless his shooting improves.”
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/2011-12-det-preview/detroit-pistons-player-profiles
    i disagree with his final conclusion, as i believe that putting the ball into the hole, despite mediocre or less than mediocre shooting.  the numbers that hollinger cites clearly show that stuckey has figured out his own way of putting numbers on the board.   ultimately that is all that matters.  now how he does it.

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