Detroit Pistons Roundtable: Rodney Stuckey’s future

Time for the third question of this year’s Detroit Pistons Roundtable. Again, here’s the panel:

I  want to thank everyone listed above for participating. But I don’t want to hear just from them. Please post your answers to the question in the comments.  We can make this an even larger collection of thoughts about the Pistons.

Here’s today’s question:

Rodney Stuckey has been a key part of the Pistons’ long-term plans. Should that status change?

Dave Pemberton, The Oakland Press

Stuckey should be part of the Pistons long-term plans, but the question is in what role? Is it as a point guard, shooting guard or both? People in the Pistons organization like to say he is a throwback guard that can play either position, but I don’t think that works unless you have two guards that can play both positions. Having a shooting guard like Richard Hamilton that needs a facilitator doesn’t work with a combo-point guard. The Pistons need to figure out Stuckey’s role and work on having him fill that role.

Now although I say Stuckey should be in the Pistons long-term plans, in no way do I think he is an untouchable franchise player. He’s a solid young player that still hasn’t reached his full potential.

Chris Iott, Booth Newspapers

If the Pistons somehow get lucky and get the top pick in the draft, that status should change. The Pistons, if they choose, could take John Wall and move Stuckey in a trade. (There would be plenty of takers.) If they do not pick first – and they won’t – that status should not change. Stuckey’s a quality young point guard who has played three seasons under three different coaches. Optimists think he can still be a star. Pessimists don’t agree, but if they’re realistic, they understand that point guards don’t grow on trees. The Pistons most likely need to move forward as if Stuckey will be in Detroit for the long haul.

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

Stuckey has quietly had a solid season and has proven that he would be a nice piece to a winning team. But although the Pistons brass might not agree with me, I would not let keeping Stuckey hinder any possible deals. In other words, I would not overvalue the third-year combo guard.

Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press

The whole “sacred cow” thing is done. In no way is this guy untouchable. If there’s a team out there that knocks Joe D’s socks off, then he has to listen. But I doubt such an offer will come. Stuckey is a good young player with a penchant for a big game here and there. And I’d love to see him play a full season without any of the drama or any of the soap operas that he’s been through in his first three seasons. He’s played for three coaches. He’s played under or alongside divas like Allen Iverson, Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon. And maybe he’s become a bit of a diva himself. I’m not done with Stuckey. But I don’t see him as a franchise player either.

Keith Langlois, Detroit Pistons

Not unless Joe Dumars finds an avenue that converts Stuckey into a piece or pieces that better enhance their future. If the Pistons won the lottery and thus John Wall, then Stuckey could be used as bait to address their frontcourt deficit – although my hunch is his first choice would be to keep Stuckey and consider the possibilities a Wall-Stuckey backcourt would create. At 23, with proven scoring ability and the potential to develop into a premier two-way player, Stuckey has to be considered their most valuable asset, which means he has the most potential to help him both here or in trade.

Eli Zaret, Detroit Pistons

He’s still young and really hasn’t much of a chance. The first season he played behind Billups; in ’09 there was the Iverson mess, and this year has been horrific in many ways. What has to play out is if Rodney can develop into a good enough ball distributor to remain a point guard or move over to the #2 spot.

Patrick Hayes, Full-Court Press

At the end of year three, Stuckey basically is what he is. A decent combo guard, not a franchise player. My personal belief is that he’d be a great sixth man, backing up both guard spots on a really good team. I like having him in Detroit and loved the toughness he played with this year (something that he wasn’t given nearly enough credit for, in my opinion), but a team playing Stuckey 35 minutes a game at PG isn’t going to win much unless a playmaking superstar at one of the other perimeter positions is acquired. We’ve been waiting three years for Stuckey to get a jumpshot, and he hasn’t. I’m not saying it won’t come, but relying on quickness only works for so long. Plus, for as strong as he is, he doesn’t finish particularly well around the basket, which is why he has a bad field goal percentage for a guy who primarily shoots from 15 and in.

I would hate to see Stuckey go, but I’d like to see the organization start viewing him more realistically – a complimentary piece rather than the future of the franchise. That’s put undue pressure on him. And in the unlikely event a team swoops in and offers a good young and affordable big man for Stuckey, then it’s time to trade him.

Justin Rogers, Full-Court Press

Most of us feel Stuckey is a two guard being forced into the role of a point guard, but the Pistons committed themselves to this long-term transformation when they brought Ben Gordon on board for five seasons. Will Bynum might be the better option to run the point between the two (although Stuckey is the better all-around player), but if you start Bynum what does that do to your rotation? Does Ben Gordon now become the fourth guard I just don’t see it happening unless the Pistons can unload Hamilton (or Gordon) in the offseason.

Of course if the Pistons land John Wall in the draft lottery Stuckey will be moved over in about two seconds.

Natalie Sitto, Need4Sheed

Absolutely … by making him a shooting guard. I have said it before and I will say it again, he’s better at the two. Yes he’s a combo-guard, but why wouldn’t you want him to play the position he plays best? Get a serviceable point guard, (I’m all for resigning Bynum if one doesn’t pan out in the draft) and Rodney will flourish.

He’s taken some criticism for not really breaking out yet, but my guess is if he didn’t have to fill Chauncey’s shoes, he would be one of the top ten SGs in the league.

Brian Packey, Detroit Bad Boys

One of the few bright spots this season, to me, was Rodney Stuckey.  He has a ways to go still, but he did take his game to another level and more impressively, he really showed how tough he is (coming back from multiple ankle-rolls and his collapse when he could have shut it down for the season).

Obviously, if the right deal to improve the Pistons ever came along, they’d have to seriously consider it, but Stuckey is someone I’d like to see a part of the Pistons long-term plans – especially since they traded Billups to supposedly help pave that road.

Kevin Sawyer, Detroit Bad Boys

No. He has improved every year. In particular, he has greatly expanded his usage rate (third among point guards) while decreasing his turnover rate (ninth). His long-range game is an obvious concern, but the fundamentals are there for him to turn into Chauncey Billups two years down the road. He should also be relative inexpensive to re-sign. Stuckey may not become an all-star, but it isn’t out of the question, and he will be an above average starter for the next decade.  

Mike Payne, Detroit Bad Boys

Absolutely. Stuckey is a solid player, but he’s been over-valued, over-estimated and over-used in Detroit. His offense is largely one-dimensional, and he lacks the court vision and passing ability to properly manage an offense.

In the right conditions, Stuckey could be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.  However, the conditions here – and Rodney’s struggles within them – are no fault of his own. Stuckey’s over-estimation and over-valuing by Joe Dumars has effectively kicked him upstairs, forcing him into a role that his skill set doesn’t match.

I believe we all knew this about Stuckey, but hoped he’d mature into the "point guard of the future" that Dumars pegged him as. Thus far, it hasn’t worked out. Although Rodney still has time to mature into a better player, the Pistons are not in a position to carry the risk if he does not. In short, Joe should begin to entertain offers for Rodney – if he hasn’t already done so.

Jesse Murphy, Pistons Nation

There’s nothing wrong with having Rodney Stuckey as a part of the team’s future … as long as it isn’t as the point guard. It just seems that Rodney’s game is best suited for the off-guard position. The experience he’s gained from being a the team’s point guard will definitely help his overall game, but I feel the Pistons would be more successful with a more natural distributor.

I also feel Rodney will need to develop a more consistent jump shot as well as working on finishing at the rim.

Jon Young, Flagrant2

No, I don’t think that plan should change. Stuckey was thrown into a tough spot. He missed a good part of his rookie year and then came in for Chauncey when he went down against Orlando. He played good as a backup but probably wasn’t ready to run the team. Last year he had to deal with the Iverson drama, and this year he had to look to score first because of the injuries. I think Stuckey played good this year with everything considered. His jump shot has shown signs of life, and once he can hit it consistently he will be really hard to guard. The midrange jumper is always open for him because of his ability to drive the lane.

I think a lot of people expect Stuckey to be just like Billups, but they forget how long Chauncey bounced around before he came to Detroit. Stuckey scores in spurts, sometimes he scores 15 in the first half and then doesn’t shoot for minutes into the 2nd. It’s just a matter of experience until he figures out how to start taking over games. Whether he runs the point guard or plays shooting guard Stuckey should be a part of the long term plans.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

Stuckey is under 24, fast, strong and has improved every year. How many NBA players fit that bill? You just don’t give up on a guy like that.

I wouldn’t be opposed to trading him, but I don’t think that will happen – not because Joe Dumars still would refuse any deal involving Stuckey, but because Dumars obviously likes Stuckey. He drafted him and has groomed him. Stuckey might not be untouchable, but what are the odds another general manager rates Stuckey as highly as Dumars does?

The fact that Stuckey has improved each year shows he has a strong work ethic, which I worried might be a problem, given how he was just handed a starting spot.

His shooting percentage is way down, but I think that’s mostly due to shouldering the offensive load when almost every single one of his teammates was out with injury. He’s a better defender, rebounder and distributor than he was last season.

The real question is how to make it work (which is a little weird to say, considering I’m critiquing a question I wrote).

As a slasher, Stuckey would be best paired with a guard who’s a good outside shooter and passer and can post up smaller guards. Know anyone who fits that description?

I don’t rag on Joe Dumars as much as most for trading Chauncey Billups, but a Stuckey and Billups backcourt would be spectacular.

Offensively, one of them would almost always have a mismatch. How many teams don’t start at least one guard who doesn’t have the strength to match up with those two?

And defensively, they have the size and speed to bother a lot of people. Plus, they’re interchangeable enough to give opponents multiple looks.

Before I digress further into that fantasy, I’ll end on this: Stuckey is better at shooting guard right now. He still has the potential to be an excellent point guard, and he would be more valuable at that key position.

But, either way, he should be a good NBA player, the type you want on your team.


Like with the other questions, please post your answer in the comments. I’d like this roundtable to involve everyone reading, too.

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