In Defense of Rodney Stuckey or You Guys Don't Have a Clue

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by DET313, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. DET313

    DET313 Second Round Draft Pick

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    I'm going to preface this by saying I am biased towards anything Detroit. I was born in Detroit and simply adore any sports team based in Detroit, whether losers (Lions, Tigers) or champs (Wings, Pistons). Now, that doesn't mean I can't be objective, it's quite the opposite. I hold the Piston's players to a higher standard then I would another team. It's a matter of home town pride to me.

    I am currently going through the Basketball GM & Scouting Course by Sports Management Worldwide. I played point guard for a small college in Iowa back in the late 90's early 2k and although I'm no where near NBA quality, the saying 'Those who can't, teach.' rings a bell.

    Please, bear with me. This is a long post but I'm trying to give people some insight into what I think being a good and effective point guard is. I'm also trying to lay a framework for both these individuals as people.

    For some odd reason, a large number of people consider Rodney Stuckey to be a below average point guard and a huge departure from Chauncey Billups, one of my TOP Pistons ever; in the same group as Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Ben Wallace.

    Chauncey Billups is a stud. But he wasn't always the PG that he is now. I believe that right now, Rodney Stuckey is better than Billups at the same time in their prospective careers.

    'Smooth' was one of the best athletes in the state of Colorado in his highschool years, excelling at both basketball and football. Roy Williams called him the most talented high schooler he had ever scouted—high praise considering that years earlier he had recruited Michael Jordan to North Carolina.

    Chauncey Billups is also a man of good character. Instead of going to a top tier program for college basketball, he decided to stay at home near Boulder, CO for college. To him it was a simple choice, stay close to his family and his single mother. His grandmother and grandfather had just passed away and there were things more important to him than a top flight school. He believed his talent would bring him where he needed to go, despite the location. Even though Colorado was embarrassing as a team the first couple of years, Chauncey was the one stand out.

    At Colorado, Billups averaged 18.5 points per game over his two seasons. In the 1996–97 season he was named to the Big 12 Conference First Team and the Basketball Times All-American First Team. That same year Billups led the Buffaloes to their first NCAA tournament victory in over thirty years, 80-62 over Indiana.

    Billups would go on to be the 3rd overall selection in the 1997 NBA draft, selected by the Boston Celtics. But, instead of receiving a foundation on which to build his floor general attributes, CB was traded to the Raptors halfway through his first season for Kenny Anderson. The years after that weren't much better for Billups either. After playing for Orlando, Denver and Minnesota he finally found a home in Detroit.

    Joe Dumars knew what he had in Billups. Playing with one of the best point guards of all time and being a tweener himself, Joe Dumars knew that Billups' defense, ball handling, low post offense and size could be a turning point for the franchise.

    JD knew he had to make a change to get this team moving in the right direction and it started with his point guard. Enter the world of a changed Chauncey Billups. Under the tutelage of one of the best (if not the best) point guard coaches of all time, Larry Brown, Chauncy Billups grew to be a force in the NBA and eventually lead Detroit to it's first NBA championship in 14 years. This didn't happen over night though, it took work and it took time, but the end justified the means.

    Surprisingly, Rodney Stuckey has a similar story. Born in Kent, Washington to Faye Stuckey, also a single mother with seven brothers and sisters. Rodney Stuckey came from a mixed family. During highschool, one of his teammates mothers had an epiphany of sorts. Diane McElhinney had an urge to help Faye and her family.

    Married with children of her own, Diana lived in a five-bedroom house on the shores of Lake Meridian with her four children and husband. A far departure from the hard work and toil that had overwhelmed Faye.

    On a whim, she called Faye after weeks of internal debate to let her know she was there to help. Early on, Diane tutored Faye's daughter, Janae, and drove her to gymnastics class. Diane also drove Rodney to basketball practice and the summer before his senior year at Kentwood, Rodney took online classes at the McElhinney house.

    That summer, Rodney and Ronnie (Rodney's older brother) moved into the five-bedroom house on the banks of Lake Meridian that Diane shares with husband Brent. They each have two boys from previous marriages, but they didn't hesitate to add to their family. They became Rodney and Ronnie's legal guardians.

    At this point in time, Rodney exploded onto the national scene. Francis Williams (Seattle Sonics) saw him playing a tournament at a local community college against Aaron Brooks, a former McDonald's All-American.

    Rodney dominated Brooks and Williams offered him a position on the touted Seattle Rotary Select AAU team that featured forward Marvin Williams (now with the Atlanta Hawks, Josh Heytvelt (Gonzaga) and C.J. Giles (Oregon State). They lost just two games that summer and finished the season as the second-best team in the country.

    Both the Washington Huskies and Washington State took notice. Stuckey was the consensus state player of the year and led Kentwood High to the 4A state championship as a senior but failed to meet NCAA academic guidelines.

    Rodney was disappointed but he knew he didn't want to go to prep school or junior college. Eastern Washington offered him a full ride and he ran with it.

    He sat out the 2004-05 season, then as a freshman averaged 24.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists while setting seven school records and becoming the first Big Sky Conference freshman to earn league player-of-the-year honors. His sophomore campaign was nearly identical as he averaged 24.6 points 4.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

    During workouts with Detroit and Sacramento, Stuckey was drawing rave reviews and comparisons to Miami's Dwyane Wade. He wasn't expected to fall past Philadelphia, which has the No. 21 pick, and he might have been selected as high as No. 11 to Atlanta.

    Many college coaches said that if Stuckey was on an ACC team, he'd be a top 10 pick, no questions asked. Stuckey would eventually go on to be drafted 15th in the NBA draft and eventually succeed Billups as Detroit's starting PG, to much negative fanfare.

    All that being said, lets get to the current situation. A lot of people have, I believe wrongly, questioned Rodney Stuckey's skill set as a point guard. Everyone wants to point fingers and continually bring up Billups as the answer to all Detroit's problems.

    In this day and age of instant gratification, stats mean everything to a lot of people so I'm going to start the assessment there. Rodney sat and watched Billups his first season and his second season became the starter. The same can be said for Billups his first 2 seasons, not really assessing any minutes until his third season, his first year with Denver.

    I want to start this comparison on an even footing so I will use Stuckey's stats from this season (third year) vs. Billups' stats from his third season to measure progression.

    Stuckey Billups
    MPG | 34.2 MPG | 33.1
    FG% | 41% FG% | 39%
    3P% | 23% 3P% | 36%
    FT% | 83% FT% | 91%
    RPG | 3.8 RPG | 2.1
    APG | 4.3 APG | 3.8
    SPG | 1.4 SPG | 1.3
    TO | 2.2 TO | 2.2
    PF | 2.8 PF | 2.6
    PPG | 16.6 PPG | 13.9

    I consider these just about even. Billups has the advantage in 3P% and and FT%. Stuckey has the advantage in rebounds, assists, FG% and PPG. TO, PF, SPG and MPG are a wash.

    So, what does this mean? Nothing really, besides the fact that both players show similar stats, in similar seasons at a similar time in their careers.

    Well, most true basketball fans know stats aren't everything, but they're a large part of the equation.

    Being a point guard just isn't about being a stat machine, its about being an extension of the coach on the floor. You have to be a handler and a distributer. As a PG you are the quarterback of the team.

    So, who excels at this between the two? Well, if you're basing things off of this point in time, it's Billups. But, thats not the whole story. Billups is going on his twelfth year in the league. He's had a lot of time to mature, develop and understand NBA defenses and schemes. He's gone up against more coaches and played against more players. He's more knowledgeable about his game, his limitation and the limitations of his teammates.

    Speaking of limitations of teammates, we come to this current season. One thing I did notice about Stuckey this year was his drop in FG%. While not drastic, it's enough to get my notice.

    I attribute this to a couple of things. Who needs to be defended offensively on this team? Not very many players that's for sure. This has been a ROUGH season for the Pistons. Rip, Tay and Gordon, our three primary scorers were either MIA this season or injured for most of it. All of that lack of offense fell on the shoulders or Rodney Stuckey. He was forced to carry the load of missing players and over-hyped prospects like Charlie Garbage.

    Double teams were a HUGE factor this season with Stuckey and I believe some of that led to his FG% dropping. There wasn't anyone you had to watch offensively other than Rodney Stuckey if you were the opposing team. I'm sure the teams in the league during pre-game meetings were focused on keeping the ball out of the hands of Ben Wallace, Jason Maxiel, Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox and Chucky Atkins. Riiiiiiiight.

    Stuckey also lacks finesse off the glass and the lack of a drop step and spin move in the low post means he's usually bashing his way inside. These are things he needs to work on this summer along with his mid-range shot. People probably don't remember or were too young but when Chauncey Billups was drafted, they said the same things about him. Not a true point guard, not a true shooting guard and didn't have a mid-range shot. Stuckey also needs to work on his tempo, but that comes with experience.

    Team chemistry was destroyed with injuries and new faces. The only consistent presence is all this garbage was Rodney Stuckey. Having eight new teammates and three rookies on a squad doesn't help you as a PG. Not to mention a new coach, with new ideals and a different style of play than your old coach.

    Dumars is going at it again. He brought in Kuester FOR Rodney Stuckey, the same way he brought in Larry Brown for Billups. Kuester is a protege of Larry Brown and Roy Williams, they both run similar offenses and believe defense is key. This can only help Stuckey in the future. During this summer, look for Rodney Stuckey and John Kuester to really develop a chemistry and know what the other is wanting in any specific point of the game.

    In conclusion, give the kid a break. He's one of the FEW stand out players on this team and one of the only players that an opposing team actually has to plan around.

    I promise you this, if Rodney Stuckey goes, you'll all be feeling the same way that Boston, Orlando, Denver and Minnesota felt in '04 when Billups led Detroit to a championship. Not good.
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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  3. DET313

    DET313 Second Round Draft Pick

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    Hey, thanks Roscoe! I promised a month or two ago I'd be posting game reviews but between my classes, scouting for a local college and having three children in the house, I've been a little busy.

    Thought I'd write some things that have been on my mind as of late now that the season is over.

    Sorry about the grammar mistakes also.
  4. max

    max All-Star

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    Nice post. Came out strong with post #11.
  5. MJO77

    MJO77 First Round Draft Pick

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    I really want to read this but my laziness wont let me :ohwell:
  6. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater All-Star Forum Donor 6x Fantasy Champion

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    Wow. Great post!! :thumb::good:
  7. coynejeremy

    coynejeremy All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Good stuff there! Puts a lot of things into perspective.
  8. Mogilny

    Mogilny All-Star Forum Donor

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    Nice post. As Jeremy said - puts alot into perspective especially for me who has been a Pistons fan since JJ showed up. :MusicBigGrin:
  9. BallDon'tLie

    BallDon'tLie All-Star 3x Fantasy Champion

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    OK.

    You sold me on the fact that Super Collider has more upside than I give him credit for.

    I'd like to see him add something to his game this off-season. The Pistons need guards that can hit triples. That would be a good place to start. Another backcourt need would be to have an absolute lock-down defender. Rodney has the talent to do these things.
  10. LA Dre

    LA Dre All-Star 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Agree this is a great post (front page stuff!!) and we still don't know what we have in Stuckey, but most of us are spoiled just was we were in the early 90's after Zeke left and waited for Hunter to lead us to the promise land.

    I don't mind keeping Stuck around to mature, just wondering if he is still better suited at the 2 and we look for some one else to run the point while Rodney matures into handling both roles comfortably.
  11. DET313

    DET313 Second Round Draft Pick

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    I think thats a fair question. Personally, I think he's more suited to being a point guard because he keeps a cool head most of the time. He's a good ball handler and he's not turnover prone. He's also clutch, how many games did he win this year at the buzzer? I'll have to look that up but I think its somewhere between three and six.

    Whats been going through my head is something people might think is crazy but, I think DeJuan Summers should get a crack at shooting guard. I like his length at 6'8", his lateral quickness is better than Austin Daye or Rip. He also has a lot of strength, more so than the two I just mentioned and isn't scared to shoot the ball, which I like in a shooting guard.

    If I were coaching next year my starting lineup would be:

    Stuckey @ PG
    Gordon @ SG
    Jonas @ SF
    Wallace @ PF
    Maxiel @ C

    I'd have Daye coming off the bench at either SG or SF, Summers @ SG or SF, Chris Wilcox C/PF, Garbageman C/PF and Bynum @ PG.

    We really need a good seven footer. If we go small in this draft I'm gonna shoot myself.
  12. Nemo

    Nemo Pun Master Forum Donor

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    Very nice post. However, I'd like him at the SG position.
  13. BillLaimbeer

    BillLaimbeer All-Star 4x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    This team would lose 50 or more games once again.
  14. DET313

    DET313 Second Round Draft Pick

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    Eh, thats speculation. We were supposed to be a one shot wonder in '04 let alone win the title and go to seven straight playoff series. Tell me how that worked out.
  15. LA Dre

    LA Dre All-Star 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    I concur....we would need a real leader and the only one in this lineup that can lead would be a 35 year old Ben Wallace who will be older....I say at least 45 losses...
  16. jayborne

    jayborne Bench Warmer

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    Honestly I'd be a lot happier about Stuckey if he wasn't an inefficient finisher at the rim. His bread and butter is his ability to get to the rim, but when he gets there he turns into Tony Allen.
  17. DET313

    DET313 Second Round Draft Pick

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    Lol, I think Tony Allen was better around the rim sometimes.
  18. max

    max All-Star

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    It's tough comparing to CB early in his career since he was such of a slow starter. You can make a case that Will Bynum is further along than CB.

    NBA.com : Chauncey Billups Career Stats Page

    Does that mean that Stuckey and even Bynum will be better than CB?

    It was not until 03-04 when CB really embraced the PG role that his career began to take off. In 02-03 he was more like a nice pickup with the MLE and better than what we had.

    My main concern with Stuck is if he ever will truly embrace the PG and stop trying to be like D.Wade. He is never going to be an all-star at the 2 but he can be at the 1 if he ever wants it. After 2 years I am tempted to give up. Not like we are going to give him away like Minn gave away CB when he walked as an FA. If there is a good deal out there for some front court help then go for it.
  19. lapiston

    lapiston Team Captain

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    Max, I too, am at the point of almost giving up--not quite. If the Pistons were to get one of those two guards in the draft (now not likely), I would definitely trade Suckey. If not, I would give him one more year. I think people forget he was only a 15th pick. How many 15th picks are suppose to lead their franchises?

    My problem is with Stuckey's game. He does not have an NBA level jumpshot. So, at the end of games, where the jumper is the open and logical shot, he cannot be counted on to hit it. On his drives, too often he gets blocked. Some of that is that the teams can key on him and not his fault. Some of it is his lack of pull up jumper or ability to pass out.

    The offense tends to get bogged down with Stuckey. This may not matter if the Pistons had a big man game inside but Stuckey's lack of flow can be a problem.

    Still, my main issue is his jumpshot. Unless he shoots far better, his impact will be limited.
  20. Brap

    Brap Starter

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    Very nice post.

    Daye is the player best suited for SG. He's a terrific ballhandler and passer especially for a guy his size. He'd be one of the league's biggest nightmare matchups at that position, and his rebounding ability (he's a very willing rebounder at any position he plays) would help our size deprived team a lot - possibly freeing up JJ or Summers to play a lot more PF.
    Mogilny likes this.

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