Drag Race: Rodney Stuckey vs. Arron Afflalo

This is the latest in a feature called “Drag Race.” Patrick and I pit two players, one Piston and one non, against each other with the question in mind: Which would you rather have on your team? Age, salary, everything count. For free agents, assume the players receive similar contracts.

Scroll past the post, and there’s a poll for you to vote.

Rodney Stuckey

Rodney Stuckey plays better than Arron Afflalo.

Who is better? That’s a much tougher question.

Afflalo is asked to do much less than Stuckey, and he does less better than Stuckey does more. Tasked with taking three more shots per game – or eight more using 2009-10 figures – Afflalo’s sterling shooting percentage would certainly dip. To Stuckey levels? That’s unclear.

Stuckey usually plays point guard and is tasked with running the offense, something Afflalo has never done. That Stuckey’s turnover percentage approaches Afflalo’s is a credit to Stuckey, considering how much more Stuckey handles the ball than Afflalo.

Afflalo is a much better defender, but Stuckey has the tools to defend about as well and sometimes flashes them. Maybe if Stuckey exerted himself less offensively, as Afflalo does, he’d defend better.

To me, the distinction comes in athleticism, where Stuckey has a clear edge. He’s stronger and faster, and that gives him an edge.

Afflalo has done an excellent job becoming a well-rounded player, but more likely than not, he’s at his peak right now. I can’t say the same about Stuckey.

I also can’t say which is a better basketball player right now, and for that reason, I’ll take the one with more potential.

-Dan Feldman

Arron Afflalo

As funny as it sounds after he’s been in the league four years, Rodney Stuckey is still the better prospect.

Afflalo is older, he’s strictly a shooting guard, and although he’s very good at the skills he possesses, he has a fairly limited offensive repertoire when it comes to creating his own shot. Stuckey is one of the strongest, most athletic point guards in the league (if he’s actually still considered a point guard) and he’s incrementally improved each season he’s been in the league.

But I’d still take Afflalo. I respect his defense and work ethic and giving him away to clear cap space to overpay lesser players will forever be one of the biggest mistakes Joe Dumars has made. Afflalo’s toughness, defense and willingness to work on his game, not to mention his cheap cost, would’ve been the pillars of a successful rebuilding effort in Detroit.

Stuckey, meanwhile, was overhyped, not fully committed to defense and is the symbol of a sputtering rebuilding effort that still has a ways to go before the Pistons are back in contention again.

-Patrick Hayes

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