Joe Dumars’ decision to sign Rodney Stuckey to a three-year, $25.5 million contract shortly after drafting Brandon Knight registered as a bit curious, if not altogether regrettable; with no need to compete immediately, the idea that Knight’s playing time might be curtailed seemed like an undesirable possibility.
That has been anything but the case, as Stuckey and Knight have improbably become a rather effective back-court pair. Neither is much of a ball-dominant playmaker at this point (though Knight has the aptitude), which means both have ample opportunity to create for themselves and others in their collective effort to keep the Pistons’ offense afloat.
This new chemistry provides a referendum on Stuckey. Detroit’s point guard of the past is currently on a 10-game tear, during which he has posted per-game averages of 22.5 points (on 50 percent shooting from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range) and 5.1 assists –- all while sharing a backcourt with Knight as a functional combo guard. Knight may be deemed the point guard, but Stuckey has provided him and the Pistons’ offense with fail-safe utility.
I had high hopes that Knight and Stuckey could co-exist in the same backcourt, but I’ll admit, I didn’t think Stuckey’s best role long-term would be starting. I thought the Pistons would eventually find a more traditional shooting guard, then let Stuckey be their sixth man, getting 30ish minutes a game filling in at either guard spot. I’ve changed that view some though. Between the two of them, Stuckey and Knight add up to about one full PG and one full SG, with both guys sharing the roles of each position depending on situations and matchups. As long as Knight continues to improve and Stuckey’s second half of the season is finally a sign that he’s arrived, I have no issue with this as Detroit’s starting backcourt for a long time.
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