Three long years ago, Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva were centerpieces in the Detroit Pistons’ retooling effort.
There was no player on the roster the Pistons had drafted higher than Stuckey. The year prior, Detroit even traded Chauncey Billups to, among other things, give Stuckey a larger role.
Villanueva was the Pistons’ highest-paid big man, a key free agent addition after his breakout season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
As we all know, that retooling largely has been a failure, as the Pistons haven’t made the playoffs since signing Villanueva and making Stuckey a regular starter. But finally, long after their stars have dimmed in Detroit, Stuckey and Villanueva are playing like the productive combination many hoped they could become.
In the 264 minutes Stuckey and Villanueva have played together this season, the Pistons have outscored their opponents by 39 points. No Detroit combination has played more together and posted a better plus-minus, either in sum or per minute.
Defensively, the Pistons perform about the same with those two on the court. The real boost comes offensively, where the results are staggering. According to nba.com/stats:
• Pistons’ points per 100 possessions overall: 99.9 (21st in the NBA).
• Pistons’ points per 100 possessions with Stuckey and Villanueva playing: 110.7 (equivalent of first in the NBA).