With six players in either their first or second NBA season, early struggles were to be expected from the Pistons. But after a blowout loss to the Lakers, the struggles of the Brandon Knight-Rodney Stuckey backcourt were the most disconcerting. Sitting with an 0-3 record, Lawrence Frank's starting backcourt production is unbalanced and isn't working. While there aren't many better options to start off the bench, something will have to change if the Pistons want to stop the early-season losing skid.
With the exception of an awful one-for-eight shooting night, going for only two points against the Lakers, scoring the basketball hasn't been the biggest problem for Brandon Knight in this young season. A double digit scorer in the first two games, Knight posted a double-double with 10 assists against Phoenix while only turning the ball over once. Away from the point column however, Knight has had some trouble taking care of the ball. Against Houston, Knight posted a two-to-one assist to turnover ratio, and matched-up with the Lakers, Knight turned the ball over five times. The Pistons have struggled with transition defense so far this season, and with nearly every turnover starting the opponent's fast break, Knight will have to have more night's like his low turnover, high assist game against Phoenix for the Pistons to stay in every game this season.
The backcourt has only contributed 40 points over three games this season, and Brandon Knight has accounted for 30 of them. When it comes to the scoring deficiency from the Piston starting guards, Rodney Stuckey shoulders the blame. Nine points against Houston, one point against Phoenix and zero against the Lakers, Stuckey has struggled going 1-for-22 from the field over the first three games. Playing his more natural shooting-guard position and no longer needing to start the offense, the thinking was that Stuckey would become the scoring anchor that the starting line-up needs. Losing to Phoenix by three and Houston by nine, if Stuckey had been able to put up numbers close to his 13.7 career point average the Pistons would most likely be sitting at 2-1 instead of 0-3. Until Stuckey figures out his scoring problem, the Pistons will continue to struggle.
The Pistons travel to Denver tomorrow night to take on the Nuggets before finishing their six game road swing with Sacramento, Oklahoma City and Houston. Wins against the Nuggets and Thunder might be long shots, but the team should look to come out of the next four games with a 2-2 mark. The Pistons are most successful when Knight and Stuckey are each playing their natural roles: Knight starting the offense and finding the open man and Stuckey finishing the offense. If Rodney Stuckey can get on track offensively and take some of the scoring pressure off Brandon Knight, then Lawrence Frank's backcourt can take on the strong, balanced look the Pistons need right now.Tags: Basketball, Brandon Knight, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, NBA, Phoenix, Rodney Stuckey