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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rodney Stuckey – not Chauncey Billups – finalists to start at shooting guard

David Mayo of MLive:

Cheeks, one day after saying he would use multiple starters at shooting guard during preseason, said the ultimate decision probably comes down to Caldwell-Pope or seventh-year veteran Rodney Stuckey.

You can read my thoughts at ProBasketballTalk.

Summary: For the love of god, Maurice Cheeks, do not start Rodney Stuckey with three other non-shooters. Please.


  • Oct 7, 20137:09 pm
    by omar


    Your acting as if KCP is a proven shooter.

    • Oct 7, 20137:36 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      It’s not as much that KCP is a proven shooter. It’s that Stuckey is a proven non-shooter.

      • Oct 7, 201310:23 pm
        by gmehl


        BINGO…Dan nailed it right on the head.

      • Oct 8, 20139:52 am
        by tarsier


        Maybe Stuckey suddenly becomes a 36% outside shooter???? Ah, preseason, the time when you’re allowed to hold such delusions.

    • Oct 8, 201311:08 am
      by The Guru


      KCP hasn’t proven anything!.. Why is it so hard for people to understand that, smh…

      • Oct 8, 201311:51 am
        by Huddy


        Obviously KCP has proven something to the coaching staff so far in practice to be considered a possible starter.
        Either way it comes down to a player who HAS proven that he wouldn’t fit in a rotation that needs outside shooting against a player who at least has the potential to provide outside shooting.  If we were talking about having Billups still in the mix then I think you would have a point because his proven skill set fits the rotation reasonably well, but if it is down to Stuckey and KCP I’d rather bet on upside than basically be certain that 4 out of 5 guys will be occupying the same few feet of space on the court.
        Its not a knock on Stuckey or a comparison of who is more valuable.  Stuckey would be underutilized in the line up and ultimately would probably have a lot more success being the main option off the bench.  KCP isn’t a proven better player than Stuckey he is just a likely better fit on the current Pistons starting line up.

        • Oct 8, 20131:23 pm
          by The Guru


          I be honest, I would bet that it comes down to Billups or Stuckey starting at the 2…I don’t even think KCP is in the conversation…I agree with you that KCP would be the best fit in comparison to Stuckey…But we have to think about the IQ of KCP…The kid has never played against competitive NBA competition(NBA starting competition)…He’s going to need to adjust to the speed of the game…

          • Oct 8, 20131:24 pm
            by The Guru

            *To be honest*…This damn Note 3 is already pissing me off, lol…

          • Oct 8, 20131:58 pm
            by oats

            First of all, it’s too late for KCP to not be in the conversation as the starting guard. I mean, you are commenting on a article that mentions the coach having him in his top 2 candidates for the starting job when the season gets going. That means he is clearly in the conversation.
            That aside, Stuckey is not a smart player. Seriously, watch him try to defend guys when playing off the ball. He ball watches, he loses his man, and he’s slow closing out on shooters. That last one is at least partially that he isn’t quite as quick as KCP, but Stuckey’s defense is not a good sign of his intelligence on the court. He’s a decent passer, but it often felt like he was a little slow recognizing his passing window when running the point. Then throw in last year when he kept taking ill advised jump shots, and I have to say that I see very little reason to think that Stuckey has all that high of a basketball IQ. I definitely don’t see enough evidence to suggest that he is so smart that he would be the logical choice over a guy whose skill set seems to make a lot more sense for the starting lineup.
            Look, I get that Pope will make mistakes and take time to adjust to the NBA. He will definitely make more mental errors defensively then Stuckey. He also is a bit quicker and plays with a lot more intensity on that side of the ball, so I think that KCP actually has really good odds to be the better defender this year. Offensively his role should be small enough that he won’t have a whole lot of opportunities to do much damage. He should be a 3 and D player in a lineup that already has a bunch of high volume shooters, and I really don’t see how his rookie mistakes will make him that much worse than a guy who hasn’t exactly proven his basketball IQ is particularly high.

          • Oct 9, 201312:25 am
            by The Guru

            Oats lets remember this conversation…I don’t believe anything the media says or writes in there articles…I think our starting 2 is between Billups or Stuckey…KCP will only get the nod to start at the beginning of the season barring injuries…
            I agree with a couple of statements you made about Stuckey…I think he’s better defensively than you’re suggesting…I also think your sleeping on the meaning of IQ…When someone is wide open, your taught to shot the ball in basketball…Stuckey wasn’t doing anything wrong…
            Look I don’t want everyone here to think I’m a KCP hater…But I really think KCP will be our future 6th man…

          • Oct 9, 201312:23 pm
            by oats

            If all that mattered was being open, it would make sense to launch 40 footers since players are often open that far from the hoop. Yet I think everyone can agree that is not a good shot. Similarly, Stuckey may have been open for 3, but he wasn’t making them at a rate that suggested that taking that open shot was actually a good idea. That means it does not represent a smart decision. A player understanding his limitations and playing within them is a pretty clear sign of a smart player, and Stuckey did not do that at all last year.

          • Oct 9, 20132:07 pm
            by tarsier

            Well, nothing to add here. Oats hit this one on the head.

  • Oct 7, 20137:17 pm
    by CNA5


    Why not?  He might be the best defender of the group.  

    Even if the Pistons start Stuckey, there are other ways to get past spacing issues:

    1.  Defend well and run.  For the first time in recent history, Detroit has a team capable of playing up tempo.  This team will be tough to stop in transition.

    2.  Own the glass.  Assuming this lineup plays 15 minutes together (start of each half), it’s not inconceivable that they could grab 7 or 8 offensive boards with this front line.  Name me 6 teams who can consistently keep Monroe-Drummond-Smith off the offensive glass.

    3.  Monroe’s elbow jumper.  If he can get the McDyess shot down, that will create space for a variety of pick and rolls.  Up until now, nobody steps out to Monroe when they run it from the high post.  If he knocks down that jumper, that opens up bounce passes into the lane for Smith and Drummond.

    4.  Beat your man and pass.  Teams won’t double Stuckey or Jennings knowing that Drummond and Smith can cut to the lane.  Having two guys capable of breaking down a defender will create some space- even if it’s not the same as a shooter.

    Personally, I hope they give KCP every chance to win the job.  But, if Stuckey shows better decision making as the combo off guard and Monroe looks comfortable knocking down a 15 footer, then starting Stuckey might not be as bad a decision as people think.  I’m sure we’ll see in preseason how it’ll shake out.

    • Oct 8, 201312:40 am
      by oats


      You are talking about offensive rebounding and Josh Smith helping, but Josh Smith is not a good offensive rebounder. Last year he got 1.8 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes. For comparisons sake, Kyle Singler pulled in 1.7. Yeah, he was not significantly better on the offensive boards than Kyle Singler. That isn’t just an anomaly either. His career average is at 2.2 per 36 minutes, a number propped up by his 2.8 in the 2010 season he decided to cut way back on his jump shot attempts. Like most players, the farther he plays from the basket the worse he does at attacking the glass. When he is playing SF he will likely spend more time away from the glass, and as a result he will just not be a big factor on the offensive boards. I’d expect his offensive rebounding numbers to be right around where they were last year, meaning not significantly better on the offensive boards than Kyle Singler. Monroe and Drummond should both be really good on the offensive glass, so the team should fare well there. Smith should be a non factor though.

      • Oct 8, 20138:09 am
        by CNA5


        When I talked about owning the glass, I meant defensive rebounding as well.  In order to run, you generally have to get rebounds (or steals or a block still in play).  This team SHOULD own the glass, which will make things easier.  

        Keep in mind, I’m just throwing up a formula to which a lineup of Smith, Drummond, Monroe, Jennings, and Stuckey COULD find success.  That’s not to say that most of them will come to fruition. 

        In the pre-season, we could see KCP play 20 minutes, knock down a pair of 3s, run the floor well, and defend decently enough and win the job outright.  If he does that, he renders all I said above moot.

        This team is going to look much different than the ones we’ve seen the last 3 years. 

        • Oct 8, 20131:21 pm
          by oats


          Ok, I agree that defensive rebounding would be important too. The fact that Smith is a good defensive rebounder, can run the court, and is a good passer makes him really useful for transition opportunities. Yet if you were talking about controlling the glass on both sides of the court, well, you did not make that very clear. The paragraph was 3 sentences, and 2 of them specifically mention offensive rebounding. Not only that, you have another post down below that specifically links Josh Smith with offensive rebounding. It seemed relevant to point out that Smith should not be expected to make much of a difference in that specific aspect of the game. 

          • Oct 8, 20132:08 pm
            by CNA5

            I decided to look up the stats between Singler.  I was wondering why I thought Smith was a better offensive rebounder.  When looking at ORB%, Singler’s around 5% and Smith (with exception of last season) is around 7%.  He was slightly, but not all that much more.  In hindsight, I expect that to go down playing next to Monroe and Drummond.
            Maybe I’m more excited about Smith finishing at the rim rather than him contributing much more on the glass than what Monroe and Drummond accomplish on their own.  Singler’s probably not going to do this:
            Regardless, I think we all can say that we hope whichever starting lineup the select is competitive.  It’ll be interesting to see how things play out during the exhibitions and early regular season.

  • Oct 7, 20138:11 pm
    by Nick N


    @Dan Now that’s the truth with some cheese on it lol.

  • Oct 7, 20138:49 pm
    by deusXango


    “…if Stuckey shows better decision making as the combo off guard..”

    First, what’s a combo off guard? Second, when has Stuckey demonstrated sound decision making on the court, with or without the ball? Starting Stuckey for any extended length of time will be a big mistake. 

    • Oct 7, 201310:07 pm
      by CNA5


      By combo off guard, I mean alternating with Jennings of who is the point.  Like with what happened when Stuckey was on the floor with Billups before he was traded.  Billups was the PG, but Stuckey had times where the offense flowed through him getting into the lane.

      When?  Plenty of times.  He played the two man game well with McDyess when he was here.  He also was good with the high pick and roll with Sheed.  The problem with Stuckey is when he’s trying to dissect a 5 on 5 situation and figure out where to attack the defense from its weak point.  That’s why he always seems to be a second late on passing the ball.  Stuckey’s problem hasn’t been poor decision making so much as being slow reading the play- something a PG can’t be.

      You’re not wrong in doubting him.  The things I listed are all ‘ifs’ at this point.  There’s a huge difference from being a PG and being a combo guard who can do PG things.  I think he’s fine as a combo guard who has PG skills.

      I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it’s a different animal executing an offense and making good decisions every 3rd or 4th time down the floor than it is to do so for 60-80 possessions a game.  Do I think Stuckey can be ok for 10-15 possessions creating?  Possibly.  60-80?  I think we’ve proven that it’s too much for him.

      And, if Stuckey did start, that’s not saying that they would play the majority of the game as a unit.   

      My guess is that they’ll give KCP every chance in the world to win the job.  If Stuckey beats him, it’ll be because he soundly beat him. 

  • Oct 7, 20139:43 pm
    by Corey


    The strange thing is that Stuckey is a useful player if you put the ball in his hands and let him drive- but this is looking like the 3rd year they will pretend he’s better off the balledge was a better PG all if the last two years than BK, but hardly played it. Strange.

    • Oct 7, 201310:33 pm
      by gmehl


      “The strange thing is that Stuckey is a useful player if you put the ball in his hands”

      Why the hell would you put the ball in Stuckey’s hands when we literally have 3 dominant big man down low to pound it into all game long? Stuckey for a guy that is awesome getting to the hoop is a terrible finisher once he gets to the cup. IMO the Stuckey experiment blew up in our face and its time to move on. The only value he has now is what he brings us going into next season and that is freeing up $$$ and a rotation spot. That is all!

      • Oct 7, 201311:05 pm
        by CNA5


        That’s a gross oversimplification.  Let’s say you’re right, and Rodney Stuckey doesn’t improve any facet of his game.  Even with his poor finishing, things will still be better.

        What does Stuckey do?  He forces weak side help.  What does weak side help do to a defense?  It means that someone is not blocking out a big for a rebound.  What happens when someone is not blocking out a big man?


        Now imagine that x2 with Smith.  

        It’s going to be interesting to see how Cheeks puts this all together.  If Stuckey defends and makes better decisions with the ball (meaning, no overdribbling), he’ll be in the rotation.  But, these are all big ifs that Cheeks will have to figure out quickly.  

        For the first time in a long time, there’s talent starting and minutes left over are going to have fierce competition to get.  

        I still think KCP is the preferred choice, but I don’t think Maurice Cheeks will snub Stuckey if he outright EARNS the job.  It’ll certainly be an interesting pre-season.  How much will Smith-Monroe-Drummond play together?  Who wins the backup SF?  Does Billups have anything left?  Is Drummond ready to step forward as a star?

  • Oct 7, 201310:52 pm
    by Bryan


    I hope this is just Cheeks talking to the media to inflate Stuckey’s value so  JD can trade him. Otherwise… seriously… four nonshooters and Jennings. Yikes.

    • Oct 7, 201310:53 pm
      by Bryan


      Or Cheeks stroking his ego so he will be more productive off the bench.

      • Oct 7, 201311:10 pm
        by CNA5


        Or maybe Stuckey is playing KCP neck and neck and Cheeks is letting that competition play out.  There’s something to be said about letting players EARN their spot.  I’m not going to rip Maurice Cheeks for not rigging an open competition against Stuckey.

        Both will likely play in the pre-season with the other 4 starters.  If the ‘non-shooter’ thing is an issue, it will play to KCP’s favor naturally. 

  • Oct 7, 201310:55 pm
    by Max


    Stuckey takes care of the ball nearly as well as anyone and other than last year, when he was used the wrong way by Frank, we’ve only seem him fail at being the first or second option without good players around him.   I think the Heat have just as many titles and finals appearances in the least three years if they had started Stuckey instead of Chalmers and I think Stuckey would have been an upgrade.  

    • Oct 8, 201312:13 am
      by Desolation Row


      Except for the fact that Stuckey isn’t a three point shooter and would therefore be a much worse fit than Chalmers…

    • Oct 8, 20131:13 am
      by oats


      Chalmers is a way better defender than Stuckey, and it’s not close. The Heat also already have a combo guard that gets to the rim, gets to the line, and can’t shoot from distance. Dwayne Wade is way better at filling that role than Stuckey.  At most Stuckey would be useful playing when Wade is out of the game, but the problem with that is the fact that the team often played better when they had Wade on the bench and inserted an extra shooter in his place. If nothing else, I’d say that it’s better for the team to be able to change their dynamic and make it harder for a single strategy to be effective against them. Chalmers gives them an option for that something different, a shooter who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. That is way more valuable to a team that already has Wade and James dominating the ball than Stuckey’s game.
      I really do think that the Heat would have been worse with Stuckey than Chalmers. I wouldn’t be that surprised if that would have made the difference in either of their tight playoff series this past season against Indiana and San Antonio, or the one against Boston the year before. That first year they weren’t really challenged in the East and likely would have made the finals even if the change was made. I’m not certain they even make the finals in either of the last two years though, and I’d say that it is pretty likely that it would have cost them at least one of the two championships.

  • Oct 8, 201312:18 am
    by The Guru


    We’ll see a Jennings/Stuckey starting back-court…That was an easy answer…

    • Oct 8, 20132:10 am
      by gmehl


      We’ll see a Jennings/Stuckey starting back-court IF this team decides they want to keep there 1st round pick and not give it to Charlotte!

      • Oct 8, 201310:20 am
        by The Guru


        Just based off our history, you have to give the edge to Stuckey…We never start rookies at the beginning of the season…I wouldn’t be surprised if KCP earns a starting spot throughout the season if he shows he’s starting 2-guard material…If we start either Stuckey or KCP we’ll be a playoff team, so you can kiss that 1st round pick goodbye bro…

        • Oct 8, 201312:02 pm
          by Huddy


          The Pistons never start rookies?  Knight, Monroe, Jerebko.  Starting is also a coaches decision so having a new coach it doesn’t make sense to give Stuckey a historical edge.  Frank not starting Drummond isn’t an indication of what Cheeks will do with KCP/Stuckey. 

          • Oct 8, 20131:18 pm
            by The Guru

            Goodness, I said they never start rookies at the beginning of the season…Knight, Jerebko, and Monroe were thrown into the starting line-up because of injuries…

          • Oct 9, 201310:20 am
            by tarsier

            Something to recognize, guru:

            The coach makes lineup decisions. Given that the Pistons do not have the same coach as in previous years, we really can’t make any inferences about future coaching decisions based on past ones. 

  • Oct 8, 20133:23 am
    by Some Dude


    If KCP shoots well in preseason, or simply just better than Stuckey. He should be a lock for the starting lineup, it’s that simple. Lets just hope KCP continues to impress when it matters.

  • Oct 8, 20138:19 am
    by RyanK


    I think Stuckey starting can work if Monroe can hit the 15-18 footer.  It’s not like Stuckey is only a dunker or someone who can only score near the basket.  He can make mid range shots and his ability to go from the perimeter to the paint, absorb contact, and draw fouls is very valuable.  He is handful going to the basket…tough for defense to deal with.  

    It’s on Monroe in my opinion to give this team more options while playing the best players.  He must make those 15-18 footers.  That allows Stuckey, Dre, and Smith to score going to the basket.   

  • Oct 8, 20138:24 am
    by tiko


    KCP for 3!! get used to that phrase by Mason

  • Oct 8, 20139:06 am
    by Ryank


    Andre-Oop!  Back in the day they called it a Sally-Oop.  I hope this takes off.

  • Oct 8, 20139:30 am
    by John


    This is my rotation for the year:

    PG: Jennings
    SG: KCP
    SF: Smith
    PF: Moose
    C: Drummond

    6th: Stuckey
    7th: Singler
    8th: JJ
    9th: Chauncey

    Dressed G: Bynum
    Dressed F: Datome
    Dressed Big: Harrellson

    Inactive: Siva
    Inactive: Villanueva
    Inactive: Mitchell

    If KCP delivers the starting 5 won´t be touched unless there is a trade, Basically anyone outside the starting 5 has a good shot at making the rotation and everybody will get the chance to prove themselves.

    They key to success this year will be if Jennings can run the offense and move the ball.

  • Oct 8, 201311:49 am
    by Gordbrown


    Really wanted to see Billups start at the 2. If he’s healthy the best time to use him is at the beginning of the season to set the tone and be like a coach on the floor. Only potential drawback to this is defense, but Billups IQ and help should be more than to compensate for this. But Cheeks is watching in real time, so I suppose some trust will have to be given until we can see the results for ourselves.

    • Oct 8, 20131:43 pm
      by Gordbrown


      Ask and you shall receive. Reports say Billups to start first exhibition tonight.

  • Oct 8, 201311:54 am
    by T Casey


    I hope KCP emerges as our best option and wins the starting spot. He showed a nice shooting touch over the summer, which is all I’ve really seen of him as a player, and he also did a little of everything in every game he played in. Rebounding and going for putbacks, unselfish in the open court, got after it on defense and forced some turnovers. His mind seems to be in the right place and I hope his game is up to par because I like his potential as a starting guard.

    • Oct 8, 20131:16 pm
      by tarsier


      Pope has almost as much shooting potential and way more defensive potential. Best case scenario definitely does not put Datome as a starting guard but rather getting lots of minutes at SF.

  • Oct 8, 20131:15 pm
    by Leon


    Not a Stuckey defender but, we must take into consideration that this guy has had a slew of bad coaches since 08 and an equally bad team to match. Like someone mentioned above, if Stuckey isn’t the 1st or 2nd option even the third it’s possible he can shine. Look what happened when they tried to make Tayshaun a top option. We were ready to trade him immediately. It’s something about having an alpha male on your team versus because you play this position you should be the leader. Or because your a vet you should be the leader. Some teams need an alpha male ala. Lakers or Mia. Some don’t and just play very well as a team 04 Pistons. Because there is much more talent than Stuckey has had in the last 5 years. He’s not a star but he could be a great role player on a more talented team that doesn’t have to depend on him. 

    • Oct 8, 20133:53 pm
      by tarsier


      “Not a Stuckey defender but, we must take into consideration that this guy has had a slew of bad coaches since 08″

      Do we have any reason at all to believe he has a better one now? 

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