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Is this the hot streak where Rodney Stuckey might be starting to figure out the consistency thing?

Rodney Stuckey has had really strong three, four, five game stretches in the past. So for that reason, I’m trying not to get overly excited about the way he’s played the last three games, including a 36-point (on 12-for-20 shooting) performance in Friday’s 114-108 win over the Kings.

Stuckey played well. He’s looked elite, like a scorer capable of carrying a team, like a man capable of holding down that starting shooting guard spot for a long time. But, even if it gets me killed for saying it by the Stuckey fans in the comments, it doesn’t mean anything yet. Don’t get me wrong — Stuckey playing well is far more preferred to Stuckey playing poorly. But he’s played well before. He’s played really really well before at times, enough to entice a winning organization to commit to his potential rather than production at a young age, to clear minutes for his ascension and to invest heavily in a belief that he’d turn into a special, special player. Playing well for a few games in a row is simply not the test for Stuckey anymore. The question, simply, is can he be an efficient, consistent, go-to player over the course of an entire season? Can the Pistons rely on him?

Certainly, he has the ability for the answer to that question to be ‘yes.’ He doesn’t have the track record yet to back that up though. Against the Kings, he was amazing. He only had one turnover, and none late in the game, when he’s had issues with decision-making in the past. He was a wrecking ball in the lane and, not only did he get to the line, he finished high percentage shots, something he has struggled with in the past. Now, he didn’t defend particularly well, but that’s forgivable considering his offensive performance.

The Pistons continue to be heavily invested in Stuckey. Their dire need for young players with upside to materialize into actual good players isn’t going anywhere. Stuckey, no doubt, can be one of those guys. It’s just going to take more than a three game stretch to prove to me that he is.

Oh, and the other half of that potential-laden backcourt?

Brandon Knight was awesome. He had arguably his best game as a pro with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists and — most importantly — 0 turnovers. There have been several performances this season where you could come away thinking that Knight looked like he had a solid future in the NBA, but this was one of few where it was easy to come away seeing him as a difference-making point guard. He ran the offense well, he didn’t take many bad shots, he knocked down open shots — particularly a couple of big ones in a fourth quarter rally that saw the Pistons take the lead — and he and Stuckey look to both be growing comfortable playing next to each other in their respective roles.

Don’t get me wrong here … Knight and Stuckey were helped by an absolutely lousy defensive effort by Sacramento. Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton had zero interest in defense. Isaiah Thomas, bless him, tried as hard as his 5-foot-7 body would let him, but there wasn’t much he could do, particularly when the Kings inexplicably had him guarding Stuckey. Stuckey and Knight both played really well, so be excited about that while also realizing that the Kings have been allowing opponents to shoot lights out all season, so it’s not entirely surprising that Detroit’s starting backcourt had its way with them.

Greg Monroe gets shredded defensively

I was a bit disappointed earlier today when it looked like DeMarcus Cousins might sit out with back spasms, as I was really looking forward to seeing how Greg Monroe played against him. Oops.

Monroe provided little resistance to Cousins, who both bullied Monroe for inside position and even took him off the dribble a few times, catching Monroe a step slow more than once. Cousins is having a great season since his early season trade demand that wasn’t a trade demand, and he also is in great shape — seriously, that dude has added a lot of muscle since college. He’s an elite talent and a load for any big man to handle, but he also exposed Monroe’s glaring deficiencies on defense. Monroe struggles defensively against strong, smart big men (like Tim Duncan) and against super athletic big men (like JaVale McGee). Tonight, Cousins gave him a little bit of each style. To his credit, Monroe still collected eight rebounds, but Cousins got just about any shot he wanted most* of the night and Monroe struggled offensively, shooting just 1-for-7.

* Ben Wallace

I said ‘most’ of the night above because, as he occasionally does, Ben Wallace gave the Pistons a few minutes of vintage defense. Tonight, it was just enough to get them a win.

Wallace played 20 minutes and grabbed 7 rebounds, but in the fourth quarter, Wallace forced Cousins into tough shots for the first time all night. Cousins hit two jumpers in the fourth, but they were shots the Pistons could live with giving up and they were further out than where he was setting up most of the night. His only shot inside in the fourth was contested by Wallace and missed.

Time is running out to watch one of my favorite players of all-time in Wallace. I simply continue to hope that Monroe is paying extremely close attention to how Wallace works on defense and the pride he still plays with at this point in his career. As a fan, it’s a treat to watch. For a young player like Monroe, I hope he’s using it as the rare opportunity it is to learn up close from one of the smartest, most gifted defensive players in NBA history.

36 Comments

  • Feb 17, 201210:05 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    i think he can do it. To be honest, as much as Joe has messed things up. I do partly attribute it to him not getting the contract he wanted. We didn’t ditch him, but we kept him here and kept him hungry. Now he has to earn something for the first time in his pro career instead of having it handed to him based on potential. 
    Add to that the fact that he has a stable and smart coach, and I think Stuckey will finally get it together.  

    Now all we need is a young defensive big to replace Wallace, and we are on to the next era of great Pistons basketball.

    too bad we are too good to get Davis or Drummond now, not without a great amount of luck. Maybe we’ll have to take a risk on Meyers Leonard or hope to land Fab Melo in round 2. I’m not so sure about Henson’s ability to gain weight…

    • Feb 18, 201211:53 am
      by BIG MARV

      Reply

      Yeah vic look like the boys finally got it! naw it makes me feel better that we dont have to go out and get a bunch of peices to complete the team now all we need is a young rebounder/Defensive player with a lil Offense at the PF position and hopefully we will get it in the draft. Plus add a lil bench help and the team will be back to where it suppose to be

  • Feb 17, 201210:24 pm
    by D_S_V

    Reply

    The defensive effort by the Kings was so astoundingly bad that I have a hard time getting too excited about the offensive performance of our guards. I don’t want to sound like a downer, but honestly that was just atrocious. I jumped into the game somewhere in the second quarter when Blaha told me the Kings had something like 19 fast break points and I couldn’t believe it. But after watching a few possessions where the Kings consistently had 1 or 2 guys breaking out (and not completing the defensive possession), it was pretty easy to see why, and how that clearly affected their ability to get stops of their own.

    • Feb 17, 201210:31 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Brutal, brutal defense by both teams really, but at least the Pistons look like they’re kind of trying when they play bad defense. Kings just didn’t care. And putting Thomas on Stuckey for a long stretch in the second quarter was ridiculous.

  • Feb 17, 201210:33 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Stuckey>everyones expectation
    Cousins>Monroe

    Tonight just made me want Cousins here more, too bad the Kings aren’t shopping him around

    Great win tonight

  • Feb 18, 201212:03 am
    by @DetroitBuckets

    Reply

    Stuckey’s struggles or failure to live up to some peoples expectations has more to do with a series of poor decisions from the front office, organizational dysfunction with ownership, and a total lack of continuity of a capable coaching staff. Call them excuses if you want, but it’s not been a good situation for development of young players. 4 coaches in 6 years? 2 of them who were not even close to qualified for the job.

    On a different team, I absolutely believe Stuckey’s career numbers/production/stats and growth as a player would have been much better.

    • Feb 19, 20129:16 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Everyone understands that he wasn’t put in a situation conducive to him having success, other than the fact that he was given a lot of minutes.

      But to act like there aren’t legit criticisms of his game that have nothing to do with the situation is crazy. Is it the organization’s fault that Stuckey’s career percentage finishing at the rim is terrible? Is it the organization’s fault that he has never developed into the lockdown defender his skillset suggests he should be?

  • Feb 18, 20123:10 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    detroitbuckets speaks the truth.
    stuckey’s issues have much more to do with the franchise and various problems, than with his talent.
    i am looking foreard to fans blaming the real culprit, as oppposed to scapegoating stuckey.

    • Feb 19, 20129:18 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Come on now, you know the game better than that. Sure, the organization is responsible for many, many factors in Stuckey’s development. But to act like Stuckey is completely blameless is ridiculous. Dude has never finished at the rim well (until this recent five game stretch), it’s taken him forever to add even a passable jumpshot to his repertoire and he’s never become a particularly good defensive player despite the tools to do it. Is some of that not his fault?

  • Feb 18, 20124:25 am
    by Jack

    Reply

    I was hoping we would tank this season to get a high draft pick.  But then I watched the pregame show where Scott Perry was talking about how you do not want a culture of loosing setting in among the players and organization.  I kind of agree with that as well.  Even if we have one of the worst records it does not guarantee one of the top picks.  The only problem in my mind is where else are we going to get our second big man to pair with Moose?  With Max as the starter the Pistons are 6 and 3, and had this line up been in there from day 1, and playing at this level I could see the Pistons competing for one of the last playoff spots but nowhere near contention. However the same situation occurred with Philly and Indy last year and they are now first and second in their division respectively.  If by any chance the Pistons do not get a high draft pick they will have to look at free agency and trades to acquire someone to pair up with Monroe.  Maybe someone who might not be the best scorer but can give them 5 to 9 points, 8 to 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal.  I do not think that is too much to ask for.  Combined with internal improvement of the young guns, it might be enough to vault us into marginal contention.  Then you build from there.  Its a process.  Thoughts?

    • Feb 18, 20127:04 am
      by vic

      Reply

      mcgee would be a fit,,, but there will be shot blockers in the late first round too. henson, melo, leonard, ezeli. getting defensive talent on a rookie contract would be ideal.

      • Feb 18, 20128:53 am
        by Mark

        Reply

        Getting a guy who is the proven league leader in blocks would also be ideal. ;-)

      • Feb 18, 201211:57 am
        by BIG MARV

        Reply

        I like Melo but I hope he dont be a big waste of space becuse he looks like he can get lazy. if we can try to get two first rd picks (mabey a late rounder) I would def pic him up in the late pic if not I wouldnt worry too much about it mabey he will fall to the second rd a guy like him can have a bad workout. Hope for the worst to get something good

  • Feb 18, 20128:17 am
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Very good win by the Pistons.  Get me some more Koolaid.  This is exactly the type of game they were getting blown out of the water with earlier in the year. I dont care that Sacto didnt want to play defense.  If we played them in a playoff series they would play the same way.  You have to be able to play multiple styles in the NBA.  We have sucked all year, everyone complained about how we sucked.  Now the pistons are starting to “get it” and have put together a decent stretch and every night we want to diminish their efforts.  We are going to be in the lottery, I have no doubt about that.  That stink bomb against Washington convinced me of that.  We are still not that good, but you can clearly see that if you get another starter at the big position next to monroe if they continue on this pace, they can become a winning team.  Knight is starting and making good decisions at the end of the game.  Stuckey is closing things out.  Monroe needs help, but it looks like he is going to have to figure it out on his own this year and help will come next year.  Keep it up Pistons, Im saving my money for season tickets next year!

    • Feb 18, 20122:56 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      If we played them in a playoff series it would be the NBA Finals. The worst NBA Finals in recorded history.

      Also, this “I don’t care that they didn’t want to play defense” attitude is hogwash. Beating teams that don’t defend is meaningless. We have very few quality wins against respectable opponents.
      Also, I don’t think it’s clear that another starting big man next to Monroe makes us a winning team. Let’s not forget that Ben Wallace is retiring and won’t be around next year, so it’s not like we’d be adding that big man to our existing front line; we’re losing our best defensive player and a guy who was a key factor in some of our most significant wins.

      • Feb 18, 201210:10 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        Sacramento is in the exact same boat as the Pistons.  Its been awhile since they have been good.   And we beat them. They’ve been to the lottery for several years.  Should we stop playing?  If you think the win against a bad team is meaningless then why was Washington so happy when they beat the Pistons.  Another team with more trips to the lottery than the Pistons.  If its meaningless then how do you get good. Are there only two states of being?  Good and bad?  You play to win the game. Remember there are humans playing not video game characters from 2k12.

        • Feb 18, 201210:15 pm
          by apa8ren9

          Reply

          Knight is making good decisions and developing.  If they dont play defense then he should have 20+ points right? Stuckey is closing the games out.  Monroe is getting his baptism by fire against all of the good bigs in the league.  There are still 30+ games left. We all acknowlegde that they are bad.  If they had quality wins against good teams then you wouldnt be complaining about them everyday.

          • Feb 19, 20123:48 pm
            by Laser

            You’re rambling. It’s like this: There’s no point in perpetually being in the bottom third of the league, and that’s where we’re stuck. So we can beat the other rubbish, big deal. All that’s going to do is keep us from drafting the kind of players we need to turn the franchise around. Also, take a look at all the other garbage teams in the league, and they have one thing in common: Basically all of them have plenty of flexibility in the coming seasons. We don’t. We’ve got just enough talent to be bad forever. I’d rather be terrible for a season or two and then have a real future.

          • Feb 19, 20123:57 pm
            by Dynamizer

            “Bad forever” nothing like a little hyperbole. CV or BG can be amnestied. Plus their contracts will be gone in a few years. Monroe is on a rookie contract, so is Knight. JJ’s contract is reasonable. Tay’s is the only one that is onerous for a long time (unless we can trade him). 

            Free agency is not a great way to build a team anyway. Very few teams are successful building a team that way. The draft and trades are how you get a solid core and we have room to do that.

  • Feb 18, 201210:10 am
    by Stuckey and Whoever

    Reply

    Well I wont focus the VETERAN getting 36 points..please.  Great game!  If Knight was taking baby steps before he just went into a long stride judging from last night.  Everyone can see he can shoot and sometimes finish at the rim.  Scoring is there, but can he handle the point guard spot??  NO TURNOVERS LAST NIGHT and 10 ASSISTS!!!  My hat is off to the rook, best all around game.  When all the individuals are on the team in the interviews (Post Game) are talking about how their teammates are stepping up and how great a job they did.  That is a good sign, they are getting a decent sample size of consistent wins to know how it feels.  (Especially for the young players who need it the most).  On to the next game.

  • Feb 18, 201210:10 am
    by Jayg108

    Reply

    Is Stuckey only on a streak? Doesn’t that depend on the guys around him? Stuckey’s “streaks” end when the guys around him cannot produce on offense or keep up with his natural pace. A couple years ago, he said that guys have to keep up with him. Now he has Knight, so this “streak” depends on Knight staying consistent.

    Bigger question, will Prince sabotage Stuckey’s streak by slowing down the game with his iso bullshit. Prince needs to go to the bench or play 20 or less minutes. Prince is one of the reasons Stuckey’s development was hampered and were talking about streaks. The other reason is playing for the Bulls. It’s definitely a management issue.

    Trade Prince for a first round pick?

    • Feb 18, 20123:18 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      In almost any case, we’d need to take money back in any trade for Prince, but I’d be very happy with an extra first rounder and a bad expiring contract.

      • Feb 18, 20123:43 pm
        by Dynamizer

        Reply

        Do bad expiring contracts exist?

  • Feb 18, 20122:50 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    The thing I’ve always liked about Stuckey is he draws fouls. Too bad he can’t finish that well, but without him on the team we’d have a real hard time getting to the free throw line. That was my only reservation about letting him walk over the summer. We don’t have anyone else to put pressure on the defense and get to the line. He’s shot about as many free throws as Prince, Knight, and Gordon have combined.

    • Feb 18, 20123:24 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      The crazy thing is that Joe has constructed a team that is genuinely dependent on Stuckey. He only looks indispensible because of the roster around him. Tiny guards, a hodgepodge of limited players who can’t score consistently. But the way this kid puts the ball in the hole consistently is to dominate it and charge towards the basket. It would be nice to turn this kid into something the team can actually use and replace him with some inexpensive size at guard.

  • Feb 18, 20123:22 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    my favorite stuckey play was the block on thompson at the end of the 3rd quarter.  i was watching the game in a pub and wasn’t certain that it had been stuckey until i checked the play by play.  stuckey looked like big ben on that block and it was extremely important in terms of game momentum.  they got a transition bucket off the block and the downcourt pass, and then went on a run that got them the lead.
    for anyone that doubts stuckey’s athlteticism, that play is a real counterpoint.

    • Feb 18, 20123:32 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      Nobody has ever doubted Stuckey’s athleticism. Not once ever. What they doubt is everything else.

      • Feb 19, 201210:31 am
        by Stuckey and Whoever

        Reply

        Last 8 games PTS 19.1 – AST 4.1 – REB 3.5 – STL 1.3 – FG% 49%
        Record 6-2, so everything else looks pretty good to me.  Don’t need glasses to see this one.

        • Feb 19, 20129:23 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          He’s playing great. What evidence is there yet that he can shoot like this for an entire season? That’s the issue that remains. He obviously has the talent. He’s never had the consistency. If he keeps up this production the rest of the season, then the discussion around Stuckey is a much different one. For now, he’s just one one of his trademark stretches where he produces at a really high level for a few games, then fades. The challenge for him has never ever been talent, it has been eliminating those valleys when he doesn’t shoot well or finish well.

  • Feb 19, 201212:13 am
    by robertbayer

    Reply

    Patrick .. I am in awe that you .. a sports journalist .. dont ever consider the truth, and just mindlessly ignore Stuckey is NOW primarily PLAYING shooting guard, his natural position, alongside Knight, who is playing point guard, also his natural position.  For 3 seasons Stuckey was forced into PG, and his play suffered, all needlessly, because Dumars didn’t want to admit his BILLUPS giveaway for trash AI was a colossal blunder. And so many journalists such as you never even considered whether that was why Stuckey stuck so often.  The Pistons wasted 3 seasons of forcing Stuckey to play PG when they, Dumars, should have brought in a real PG several seasons sooner. Dont you recall how much better Stuckey was playing when he played with a real PG during his rookie year? Guess it would be too bold of you to produce real journalism where it highlights Dumars’ decisions screwing up the team.

    • Feb 19, 201210:15 am
      by Stuckey and Whoever

      Reply

      I agree people including Journalist have complained about Stuckeys production for a couple years.  Even though it gets better, no one says hey this guy is a natural 2 guard playing the 1.  hmmm should we really expect his numbers to take off like a rocket?  Apparently they don’t want to talk about that.  I don’t think it was a total lost, a player who can run two positions is a good thing to have on your team.  But concentrating on using that player in the position where he is not his best in.  That’s where you have to know WHEN to pull him out of that position and put him back at his natural spot.  And clearly he is better at the shooting guard/Slashing guard with a (young/fast) point guard next to him.

      • Feb 19, 20129:26 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        For a couple years? Are you kidding me? I haven’t even been writing for this site for a “couple years.”

        And for the record, Stuckey played a lot at shooting guard last year, and didn’t produce close to this level.

    • Feb 19, 201210:28 am
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      I love the scent of fresh troll in the morning.

    • Feb 19, 20129:24 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Congrats robertbayer, this is at least the third different screen name you’ve registered for on this site. That might be a record.

      Also, i’m not a journalist. In fact, since I work in PR technically for my day job, most real journalists would be insulted that you would call a PR person a journalist.

  • Feb 19, 20129:44 am
    by Melvin

    Reply

    Only 5.5 games back of 8th seed if we continue winning 6 of 8 might get a 7th seed

  • Feb 19, 20125:01 pm
    by jiimy johns

    Reply

    FanSaloon NBA Daily Fantasy Rewind

    Friday night was a very very productive night for daily fantasy NBA. We had several high scoring nights which meant good high scoring games at FanSaloon.com. Kobe Bryant put up a ridiculous 58 daily fantasy points last night. On most nights that is enough to carry a daily fantasy team to victory, but not on Friday. Read More – http://blog.fansaloon.com/2012/02/fansaloon-nba-daily-fantasy-rewind/

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