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Freep column: So … what happens when Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey return?

Perhaps the highlight of many positives in the Detroit Pistons’ season-opening win was the play of starting guards Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups. But as we know, with injured guards Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey returning to the lineup at some point, could soon be broken up in favor of some as-yet undetermined combination. So how can Jennings and Stuckey not mess up what Bynum and Billups started? I discussed copying their blueprint in today’s column for the Detroit Free Press:

Bynum has never been viewed as starting point guard material by the Pistons. He’s inconsistent, occasionally plays a little too fast and he doesn’t excel as a traditional halfcourt, pass-first point guard. But there are two point guard-like things that he does exceedingly well — he’s a good drive-and-kick player and he’s a good pick-and-roll player. Those two things happen to fit perfectly with the Pistons’ bigs.

We’ve seen how good he is in the pick and roll with Drummond since last season. And on drives, Drummond, Monroe and Smith are all great at slipping to the basket if their man cheats off of them to attempt to stop Bynum’s penetration. Bynum is a good passer when he’s on the move, so he usually finds them. The team’s backup forwards, Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler, are also good at making cuts to the basket, so Bynum’s ability to find players will come in handy whether he starts or comes off the bench.

Bynum will be a decent contributor with some ups and downs, no matter his role. The important thing for the Pistons is whether Jennings can replicate the masterful way Bynum both used his bigs to create shots for himself and set up good opportunities for them in the first game. Like Bynum, Jennings is a good ball-handler with a quick first step, so if he’s as committed as proving himself as a good distributing point guard as he’s said he is, he can easily replicate the success Bynum had in the opening game by simply attacking his man off the dribble, using screens well and always looking for cutting big men.

Or, a more succinct version of that column: USE YOUR BIGS, JENNINGS AND STUCKEY!


  • Nov 1, 201312:13 pm
    by Vic


    good bigs make all pgs look better if the pgs are smart enough to use them.

    the advantage with Jennings is his 3 point shooting.
    the advantage with Stuckey is his Defense.

    But I agree this team could be really good if Jennings and Stuckey can get in where they fit in…

    I’d even use Stuckey as an SG with Billups, as long as he’s playing with Datome or Singler. 

    • Nov 1, 20132:11 pm
      by MIKEYDE248


      Wouldn’t Stuckey need to learn to shoot first?

  • Nov 1, 201312:58 pm
    by Pistons87


    As usual I thought Bynum’s performance was up and down but ended up being a slight positive on the night.  Nothing new here.  I wouldn’t call his usage of his big men “masterful” but adequate comes to mind and certainly he’s more capable at that PG function then Knight ever was.  Your point is dead on, there is too much front court talent for the PG to completely ignore his bigs and go one-on-one without a screener and drive into a clogged paint (Bynum did this on a few occasions as well).  I don’t think this team really has a spacing issue except for these types of plays.  If the PG doesn’t run a PR or use screens on his drives there’s no room to operate or finish in the paint even if our bigs are 20ft from the rim because the defense is not going to move.  That’s the spacing issue I see.  If we run PRs the other teams bigs have to move to defend which will open up either driving or passing lanes off that action. 

  • Nov 1, 20131:37 pm
    by Otis


    It’s not hard to predict how the rotation is going to shape up: Jennings/Stuckey/Smith/Monroe/Drummond to start. Bynum/Billups/Singler/Jerebko backing them up. I’m sure there will be various struggles and position battles, but it makes sense. I’ve been skeptical about Cheeks, but I absolutely loved his seven-and-a-half man rotation. Credit where it’s due.
    The thing that continues to worry me is shooting. I don’t see where the minutes are coming from for Gigi and KCP (plus obviously CV is a non-factor), especially if Cheeks is intent on using a short rotation.

  • Nov 1, 20131:56 pm
    by Max


    Based on the first game at least, Billups should start.   I really wasn’t expecting him to look so good but I think he must be healthier than he was last season.

  • Nov 1, 20139:57 pm
    by Max


    After 3 quarters against the Grizz, I wanna see some love for Stuckey on these boards win or lose.  

  • Nov 1, 201310:33 pm
    by James Haliburton


    I can’t see this team being overly successful with Smith shooting 10 3′s a night. He seems to be in love with that damn shot. Hopefully that changes when Jennings comes back and distributes the ball better. This team looks much improved talent-wise obviously, and before I sit KCP down, I would play him a bit at the small forward position when possible. Singler looks like a 9-11 type guy to me.

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