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Rodney Stuckey plays through injury, but that’s not his battle

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

#Pistons just confirmed: Stuckey reaggrevated that groin injury, but he’ll continue to play. Down 23

Kudos to Rodney Stuckey for playing hurt, and I hope he sets an example of toughness for his teammates.

But that’s not the battle Stuckey needs to be waging, especially during the latter stages of a 99-79 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

Stuckey has a little extra juice vs. OKC. Likes to go vs. Westbrook. Snub of ’08 Select Team still sticks with him.

That battle – one that nobody outside of Pistons employees cares about – isn’t the right one for Stuckey, either.

Want to prove you’re better than Westbrook? Bring it every game.

Westbrook had 24-6-5 tonight. He had 21-6-3 in his last game. He had 36-7-5, 26-4-7, 21-8-8, 22-7-2 and 30-6-4 in his last five games before that. He’ll probably have something like 24-6-5 in his next game, too. That’s why he just received a max contract.

Stuckey has shown flashes of brilliance, and that got him $8.5 million for each of the next three years. But his salary is generously inflated for what he might be, not what he is. For him to earn more money in 2014, he must play well more often.

Stuckey (12 points on 5-of-11 three rebounds and no assists in a foul- and injury-limited 22 minutes) started the game strong, but he faded by the second quarter. That followed his best game of the season, against the Trail Blazers on Saturday.

I’m not sure whether Stuckey lacks the mental focus or physical conditioning to play so hard – not even necessarily so well – every game. But for whatever reason, Stuckey has never established himself over a sustained stretch.

Stuckey is – obviously to nearly everybody – not close to Westbrook’s level. Playing through injury during a blowout loss won’t get him there. Playing well consistently will.

Once Stuckey gets healthy, that’s what I hope to see from him – not just sporadic bursts of energy, focus and production when it suits him.

Stuckey deserves credit for playing well enough lately to raise expectations, and I’m hoping this is finally the time he’ll break through. But he must earn it in games that don’t hold extra meaning to him.

Brandon Knight stinks up defense

Brandon Knight was dreadful defensively. He got lost defending Daequan Cook off the ball a couple times, allowing two 3-pointers. On the ball, Russell Westbrook carved him up.

At times, Knight let his defensive struggles affect his offense. In the first quarter, James Harden made a transition 3-pointer over Knight. On the next possession, Knight forced a 3-pointer of his own – and airballed.

I know Knight is young. I know the Thunder guards are excellent. I know, I know, I know.

But once again, until Knight puts it together, he hasn’t put it together.

Greg Monroe stinks up offense

Greg Monroe (3-of-14 for 12 points in 27 minutes) really struggled offensively tonight. As Royce Young of Daily Thunder predicted, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka took turns defending Monroe, and both bothered him.

Like I said before the game, the plan for guarding offensive centerpieces is often to send multiple types of defenders at him. This was a test Monroe failed on his road to becoming Detroit’s offensive hub.

With 12, 10, 10, 13 and 4 points in his last five games, Monroe isn’t a reliable No. 1 option yet.

Austin Daye stinks up everything

Austin Daye (3-for-10 for nine points) finally made his first 3-pointer of the season, but for the most part, his shot looked just as off as it has all season.

Daye was just as bad defensively – slow on help rotations and timid once he got there. To be fair, Daye spent many of his minutes at power forward – though, that might have helped his offense against a big man not accustomed to guarding out to the perimeter – and that could explain some of his defensive ineffectiveness. But it doesn’t exactly explain his lack of defensive awareness.

At least he got 20 minutes to work through his problems, his second-longest out of the season.

Setting the pace

Many fans have suggested the Pistons, last in the NBA in pace, should play faster. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

To a degree, a team controls its pace only as well as it defends. The Thunder are not a running team on the face value of its players’ ability to get up the court quickly, but they cause a lot of turnovers and misses that lead into transition opportunities. That’s why they ran so much tonight. It’s much harder to run after allowing a made shot.

Until the Pistons defend better, their pace won’t fluctuate much.

40 Comments

  • Jan 23, 201211:12 pm
    by Talan

    Reply

    I don’t have any stats to prove this, just my own observations. How does Daye get so many easy rebounds? Monroe fought for his 7 boards, Daye seems to be in the right place at the right time. Missed free throws, everyone else boxed out, long balls. Not just this game, all season. Daye always seems to get the easy boards, what’s the deal?

    • Jan 24, 201212:14 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Daye’s long arms allow him to get many uncontested rebounds over his teammates. His lack of weight/strength prevent him from getting many contested rebounds over the opponent. In the end, his numbers look good, but they don’t help the Pistons as much as they suggest at first glance.

      I’d love to see rebounding plus-minus stats, and I tried to get the numbers at one point. Unfortunately, the NBA gives a team rebound when someone misses the first of two free throws, making the numbers pretty useless.

  • Jan 23, 201211:25 pm
    by DVS

    Reply

    There’s arguing about Stuckey being anywhere near westbrooks level. He just isn’t close.
    But i would like to say that Stuckey has looked pretty good so far this season. His shooting started well but dropped off during/after the injury, but his decision making and willingness to pass looks a lot better than previous seasons.
    He isn’t bull rushing as much as before and he and knight generally look like a good combo.
    I hope he can stay healthy and get back his shooting rhythm before too long.
    It was also help if one of our bigs, outside of monroe, could catch a ball when it’s passed to them. Watching Maxiel constantly dropping passes for easy assists to stuckey/knight/walker jr is painful.
    On a side note….. Isn’t it ironic that last season we had too many SG, so we get rid of one, and now with Stuckey, BG and Bynum injured, we have no depth at the guard positions…. not saying i want Rip back, just pointing out that the NBA can be a real b**** sometimes.

  • Jan 23, 201211:53 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Andray Blatche has been getting booed at home games recently…If we were able to keep our draft pick and trade for Blatche (assuming we keep Knight, Monroe, Stuckey, Jerebko) we could have our big man (6’11 260 pounds 25 years old) and draft Harrison Barnes and I know most of you want Davis or Drummond but chances are we might not even get a top 3 draft pick especially since there’s other teams stinking it up like we are. It’s just a suggestion, one that likely won’t be addressed seeing none of us has a say in anything that Joe does, but to me I would at least look into it

    • Jan 24, 20124:18 am
      by Jakob Eich

      Reply

      If we trade for Blatche we’d have two players with almost the exact same skill set (Monroe, Blatche) just that Greg works a lot harder. Blatche is a cancer in my opinion and does not have anything the team needs right now. I could maybe live with Javale “The Future” McGee, but Blatche just does not have any work ethic whatsoever, more than iffy shot selection. 69% (read that number closely) of his shot attempts are jumpshots according to 82games.com. He doesn’t penetrate, he doesn’t block shots. What do you want to do with him? He is a chucker, and we don’t need that!

      • Jan 24, 20128:21 am
        by Daye and Knight

        Reply

        He’s a better blocker than we have, and let’s not get picky…have you seen our team? We have no room to say well we rather have McGee cause it would take a lot more to acquire him. Blatche takes too many jumpers I can’t argue with that but if we’re serious about Monroe being our center at least Blatche can spread the floor. Blatche registers a block a game how many players on our team can do that…don’t bother answering. Like I said its only a suggestion don’t try and pick it apart like you have a better idea…thought so lol

        • Jan 24, 201212:08 pm
          by Jakob Eich

          Reply

          Rebuilding through the draft instead of getting random big men who may or may not score. I don’t see how Blatche is better than Villanueva. You are welcome!

  • Jan 23, 201211:57 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Oh and Dan don’t let Mark hear you say that Monroe isn’t a reliable go to guy yet, lol I tried telling him that and he wouldn’t have any part of it, just kept rambling on how Monroe should be the #1 option on the Heat…once he said that and I had my laugh I was done lol

  • Jan 24, 201212:14 am
    by damian

    Reply

    an almost hell no to andray blatche;  he’s the kind of player that needs to play with a contender with some veterans to bust his nose, or a coach that will. coming to another loser team, wiil just lost interest here and play like a maxiell/charlie v. bastard child.
    maybe it’s just washington though? if we got him for a good deal, and didn’t give away any first round picks, a season or two couldn’t be any worse than being forced to watch damien wilkens on my computer.
     
    if we don’t get a top three pick, we HAVE to trade up. our pick 4-8 plus (not sure if contracts warrant it or not, have to look up) bynum, singler, wilkens, gordon, villafuckhimtoo, maxiell and a future 2nd or two.
    i would rather watch the mad ants than most of the players i have just listed so it would need help.

  • Jan 24, 201212:22 am
    by damian

    Reply

    fuck me wilkens can’t be traded.

  • Jan 24, 201212:37 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    I’ve seen comparisons to the Thunder about how the Pistons could be building through the draft. But the Thunder are built with draft picks like the 2nd (Durant, who should have gone first), 3rd (Harden), 4th (Westbrook) and 5th (Jeff Green, who was traded for Kendrick Perkins) overall. Plus some good drafting outside those picks, but that’s their core right there.
     
    So far our young core consists of two 15th, a 7th and an 8th overall. That’s a big difference there. And we got EXTRAORDINARILY lucky to draft talent like Knight and Monroe with picks smack-dab in the middle of the lottery. We should be a lot worse off. I can’t fathom how bad the team’s outlook would be had guys like Knight and Monroe slipped so far. And even still, there’s just no comparing the young talent on these teams, at any point in their development.

    • Jan 24, 20123:59 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. I see no reason to say we were extraordinarily lucky to have Knight slip to 8th. Yeah, he was projected higher, but that was mostly because Utah or Toronto was projected to reach for a PG. In the draft, Irving, Williams, and Kanter were guaranteed to be off the board. So that left Valanciunas, Vesely, Knight, Biyombo, Walker, Leonard, and Thompson. 3 of those players were gonna be available. As of yet, I don’t see any indication that Knight is gonna be better than 3 of those guys. He may well be, but it’s not a crazy, how-did-this-happen? kind of thing that he was available at 8. Personally, I was hoping for one of Valanciunas, Knight, or Leonard. And 2 of them were still available when Dumars picked. And Leonard certainly looks pretty decent.

      But you’re right that Detroit hasn’t had nearly the opportunity to rebuild that OKC did. It’s the problem with clinging to the old guard (such moves as resigning Prince). Few teams do get an OKC-esque opportunity. That’s why I say the Pistons are a run-of-the-mill bad team, not an outstandingly lucky one like the Thunder/Sonics were. Nor do they appear as incompetent as the Clippers and Wolves used to be.

      Also, at the time, almost anyone would’ve taken Oden over Durant. I remember reading articles on whether or not the Blazers should consider taking Durant over Oden. But no major voices said yes, Durant is definitely the man.

      • Jan 24, 20129:01 am
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        The only national guy I remember calling for Durant over Oden was Bill Simmons, and just a couple years earlier, he was calling Orlando stupid for taking Dwight over Okafor, so I don’t think anyone paid him any attention. Virtually everyone else was in agreement that Oden was the top prospect in that draft, and anyone who forgets why should go back and watch him in the NCAA championship game. Minus the knee injuries, he would’ve been near Dwight levels on defense.

    • Jan 24, 20128:58 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, second what tarsier said. Knight isn’t a given to be an above average starting PG, which is why Utah ultimately passed. He has a lot to work on to be a complete lead guard. He was nowhere near as ready to play at a high level as the PG taken ahead of him, Kyrie Irving. There was a wide gulf between those players, and it has shown so far this season. Knight has loads of potential and great size/length for a PG, but you can say that about a lot of players who don’t ever live up to it.

    • Jan 24, 20122:39 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      But the Pistons were really lucky to get Monroe. Granted it only took one GM in front of them to be stupid. But odds are that that one had to be the Warriors’.

  • Jan 24, 201212:53 am
    by Willie

    Reply

    And both of our picks are not so good on D. It for sure looked like Westbrook was playing someone in college(Knight).  And Durant even made Tay look bad.  Tough cover, good learning for knight though.  OKC did a good job of taking Stuckey out of the game with fouls when he was our offense.  Knight and Stuckey need to draw nearly the whole other side to get wide open looks to get our assists up.   And more Walker Russel Jr needs to be the back up because our assists are so low.

  • Jan 24, 20121:14 am
    by damian

    Reply

    blatche is under contract for 4 years, don’t know if i’d even want to do this, but.
    detroit gets: blatche, seraphin
    washington gets: villaleavedetroit, daye, macklin
    and whichever team would deserve a draft pick or cash consideratons.
     
    detroit gets: blatche, singleton
    washington gets: vlillanoheart, bynum, macklin
     
    and in my best case scenario, dream sweepstakes.
     
    detroit gets:  hinrich (atl), blatche (wsh), mack (wsh)
    washington gets:  villaneedsapostgame, zaza pachulia (atl), daye and an atlanta draft pick and cash (said it needs 52,000 to make it work, easily done.)
    atlanta gets:  bynum, javale mcgee (wsh)
     
    reasoning?  hinrich is one the last year of his contract, the combo guard we should have taken over gordon in the first place but since we didn’t, he’d get a good mentor to knight with steady production and might help gordon’s mentality (since we’re stuck with him). we’d have to work with mack instead of daye for our project;  not sure if he’s as maleable. ben wallace could g check andray every third thursday, so i’m not questioning that as much. lawrence frank has heart (i think), flip saunders has nose.
    ben gordon averages nearly a about a million dollars per point he scores. there’s your trade value.
    rashard lewis averages two million dollars per point.
    kwame brown, the legend, might be done for the year, the warriors will be looking for help too.

    • Jan 24, 20124:11 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Not that it matters that much because if the teams liked such a deal, they could alter it minimally and make it work. But you can’t use cash considerations to fit a deal into CBA requirements. They are just incentives. It especially doesn’t make sense when you consider that if a team needs $52K more, that means $52K more of contractual obligations, which is basically the opposite of being given $52K more cash.

      Your easiest way to fix it would probably be to have Washington also ship out Booker.

  • Jan 24, 20121:40 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    if daye stinks, what does wilkins exude?
    this is an incredibly unfair supposed analysis of the game.
    daye did not have a great game, but he certainly did not have a stinking game or one of the worst games.
    how about vets who should know better.
    tay?
    durant literally got any shot he wanted when tay guarded him.
    wilkins?
    harden scoed most of his first half 15 points against wilkins.
    daye missed defensive assignments? probably.
    but were tay and wilkins – 2 vets who are suposed defensive stalwarts – torched?
    but somehow daye “stinks” while those vets dont merit a mention.
    objective and fair?

    • Jan 24, 20128:53 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Daye does stink though, for real. I’m gonna get you off the Daye bandwagon. That’s my goal by the end of the season.

      • Jan 24, 20121:42 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        getting me off daye’s bandwagon would be very simple.
        if he gets consistent PT, every game, say the 20 minutes he got last year, and he still stinks, then i will be another one of those fans who calls him a wasted draft choice.
        it is mystifying why the organization is not doing that.  it makes sense, for their present and their future.
        btw, new orleans is handling aminu very differently.  he is in and out of the starting line up, yes, but he plays every game and is getting an average of 20 minutes a game.  i’ve seen several hornets games and his minutes swing wildly, but he plays very game and averages a decent amount.
        that is far different from what is happening with daye.  daye has not played in  about 1/3 of the games so far.  and he is only averaging 11 minutes a game, which is even less than what he got in his second year.  he looks like he is slowly starting to get out of his slump, so hopefully frank will throw him out there to sink or swim.
        again, what is the alternative?
        it is hilarious to see a guy like wilkins out there – who got about 6 more minutes than daye last night.  the guy cannot play.  he is even a horrible defensive player, which is supposed to be his calling card.   any decent offensive player has a good/great game when he defends them.
        bruce bowen he is not.
        heck, he isn’t even ime udoka.
        how the heck can anyone justify playing wilkins one minute when you have a young player like daye struggling to get PT?

  • Jan 24, 20121:54 am
    by damian

    Reply

    wilkens’ shit smell had been acknowledged years ago, and people would rather not bring that smell to a conscious level again.
    it’s easier to feel confident on defense, when you have those sweating bears in the paint  for the thunder perimeter players.)

  • Jan 24, 20121:55 am
    by damian

    Reply

    joe dumars was probably my favorite piston as a child, but for signing wikens alone and not letting our basketball young idiots gain knowledge and became smart, he should have been fired. that’s just this year.

    • Jan 24, 20128:53 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Haha, why so outraged about Wilkins? Yeah, he’s terrible. But the only reason he made the roster is because they had to scramble to replace Singler, who they were expecting to take that roster spot. Wilkins makes very little money and he’ll be gone in the offseason. I’m much more concerned about the wing players in front of him — the veteran who was inexplicably re-signed for four years (Prince) and, save for a nice three-game stretch, has been terrible and the young player who is absolutely lost on both ends of the court (Daye).

  • Jan 24, 20122:04 am
    by Mark

    Reply

    lmao at the part about no one outside of the Pistons caring about Stuckey’s vendetta against Westbrook. LOL. That was awesome and so true. Langlois continues to write about these stupid, insignificant things that no one cares about. Like everytime the Pistons play the Bulls, he will remind everyone of Stucley’s 40 pt game like 10 yrs ago against Rose, lol.

    • Jan 24, 20124:03 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It’s hard for anyone else to care about a vendetta that’s only in Langlois’ head. Stuckey was never on the same level. Langlois wrote about him being snubbed when he was clearly a player with less upside and not clearly a player who was better then. Not to mention, it would’ve been fair to consider him an injury risk at the time. It would be like calling Kevin Martin not making the all-star game a snub. Sure, you could make a decent case to put him in, but he is still something of a long shot.

      • Jan 24, 20124:24 am
        by Jakob Eich

        Reply

        Well, as a journalist/blogger you have to write about something, so he writes about the good ol’ times when Stuckey took Rose to school! haha

  • Jan 24, 20127:04 am
    by ryan

    Reply

    Hopefully other teams will be remembering the good old days when their point guards took Brandon Knight to school in a couple of years and lamenting the fact that he’s killing the whole league now.

  • Jan 24, 20128:50 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    I love LOVE when Langlois mentions that Stuckey-Westbrook thing. I wish someone would ask Stuckey about it again. Him talking about being as good as Westbrook never gets old. It’s one of my favorite things about this “era” of Pistons basketball.

    • Jan 24, 20123:06 pm
      by A.T.

      Reply

      You know, I kind of wish we had our own personal “Keith Langlois” to publish nothing but positive rhetoric when the chips are down. How does the “Langlois Mr. Positivity” app sound?

      • Jan 24, 20124:49 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Oh man, sign me up. KL telling me how great I am at my day job and how much upside I have would get me through many a long day.

        • Jan 25, 201212:18 am
          by A.T.

          Reply

          I’m working on it now!…j/k lol

  • Jan 24, 20129:24 am
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Full disclosure: I am a Rodney Stuckey fan. Feldman, observation and analysis of Stuckey’s game/effort/expectations are spot on. Additionally, his review of OUR squad’s performance in OKC is equally as accurate.
    I think that somehow, someway Joe has got to add a piece (an enhancement) to OUR roster, now that will allow for Stuckey, Knight, Monroe, Jerebko, to all continue to grow, positively.
    WE can’t afford to play the remainder of this compressed season 48 games, aimlessly without any direction or WE will lose these guys, mentally and emotionally.
    Joe needs to make a move to balance this roster out!

  • Jan 24, 201211:34 am
    by Tim

    Reply

    funny that people are dogging on wilkins.  Sure, hes, at best, a 10th to 15th man on a real nba roster.  But he has played harder and produced better in his limited minutes than any of our surefire nba player wings.  I would almost rather have him start over Prince at this point.  This is gonna be a long cold season.

  • [...] Dan Feldman of Piston Powered: “That battle – one that nobody outside of Pistons employees cares about – isn’t the right one for Stuckey, either. Want to prove you’re better than Westbrook? Bring it every game. Westbrook had 24-6-5 tonight. He had 21-6-3 in his last game. He had 36-7-5, 26-4-7, 21-8-8, 22-7-2 and 30-6-4 in his last five games before that. He’ll probably have something like 24-6-5 in his next game, too. That’s why he just received a max contract.” [...]

  • Jan 24, 201212:08 pm
    by RyanK

    Reply

    You understand they aren’t going through Monroe as much as they were before, right?  That’s why his scoring is down, not because he’s an unreliable #1 option.  I don’t want to waste time digging up stats that show he’s getting few touches…watching the game it’s obvious.

  • Jan 24, 20121:20 pm
    by Tim

    Reply

    RyanK, just look at the stats from yesterdays first half.  He was 1-10 at one point.  10 shots in a half is enough touches for anyone not named bean bryant, who has elevated chucking to a science.

    • Jan 24, 20127:17 pm
      by RyanK

      Reply

      Okay, so Monroe isn’t entitled to a bad night?  Lets ship him off!  When he’s missing tip backs, lets count that as a shot attempt and hold it against him.
       
      The fact that they are trying to create more on the perimeter is obvious.  It does affect his stats and by absolutely no means does that make him an unreliable option.

  • Jan 24, 20122:58 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    Face it. Anytime Monroe goes 1-8 in the first 8 minutes of a game is gonna be a loss and an ugly one at that … and also the only players on the Pistons who are going to even post that are either Monroe or Stuckey. My concern is that it wasn’t really suffocating defense that was the issue. Monroe seemed lost and unable to move. I think he just didn’t have his legs under him or another way to put that is that he has dead legs. I’ve gone through that and its not a happy feeling. Hopefully, it was just one game and he’ll bounce back. Also I think the difference between a blow out and respectable was the three pointer that was blotted out. The only reason that was a turnover and not a shot was because Stuckey was clearly fouled. You would think the refs would be embarrassed enough not to make an issue out of that. So instead of being eight points down, the Pistons were all of a sudden 15 points down and there was a big letdown there. But mental toughness, they did go on to win the second half. Small moral victories and all that.

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