There had been complaints about Rodney Stuckey's impact, or lack thereof, during the Pistons' 0-8 start this season. Well, the "Stuckey-haters" got their wish Wednesday against Philadelphia as Stuckey sat out of the line-up with the flu. The result? The Pistons won their first game of the season. Rookie Kyle Singler started in place of Stuckey, and the rookie made the most of his first career NBA start by scoring 16 points, grabbing four rebounds and holding Jason Richardson to nine points. Seeing as how Stuckey was the only thing missing from the Pistons' first victory, reporters in the post game locker room couldn't stop asking Lawrence Frank if Singler would remain the starting shooting guard. Frank was vague and dismissive of the question, but now it seems that Rodney Stuckey has provided everyone with a clear answer.
Sometimes written off as a score-first guard, one incapable of making his teammates better, Rodney Stuckey proved himself to be the ultimate team player earlier today. Meeting with Lawrence Frank, Stuckey told the Pistons head coach that he was ok with coming off the bench and suggested that Singler remain the starter for tonight's game against Orlando. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press was there for Stuckey's reaction:
“Yeah, anything to try and help the team win, I’ll sacrifice,” Stuckey said. “I just want to win. Try to switch stuff up and come off the bench and just be aggressive with the second unit.”
Singler's start could not be ignored
Anyone who watched the game against the 76ers noticed that Singler's activity with the first unit gave the Pistons an offensive flow that was glaringly absent in the first eight games of the season. It's not just the scoring that Singler adds, it's how Singler scores. He cuts without the ball, he can drive the lane, and he gets up the floor in transition off the rebound. Most importantly, Singler stretches the opposing defense with his 0.429 three-point shooting percentage that no one in the the pre-Singler starting lineup could match. By no means does adding Singler to the starting line-up mean a 180-degree turnaround for the Pistons, but it's nice to see Rodney Stuckey sacrifice minutes for the betterment of the team.
Stuckey better coming off the bench
This move will not only help the team, but it could help Rodney Stuckey as well. Before the season started it was a well-known fact, that the coupling of two score-first guards (Knight and Stuckey) in the backcourt might not work out. Stuckey can score, but when he's in with the first unit he is expected to let the play develop before slashing to the basket. Now, coming off the bench, Stuckey won't have to worry about deferring to Monroe or Knight. Stuckey becomes the number one option, a position that could turn him into an instant offensive weapon for the Pistons.
It's happened before (a little history)
Years ago, before the Bad Boys became a household name, the Pistons' backcourt was made up of Isiah Thomas and Vinny Johnson. Both guards were explosive scorers, and while playing the same role the Pistons weren't very good. The Pistons then drafted Joe Dumars and made him the starter, a guard who better complimented Thomas and gave the offense "flow." Vinnie Johnson, the one-time starter, was brought off the bench to provide an instant offense spark with the second unit. The Pistons won two World Championships, Joe Dumars became a hall of famer, and the Pistons retired Vinnie Johnson's number to the rafters of the Palace. Ensuring that "The Microwave's" instant offense would never be forgotten.
This year's Pistons team is nowhere near the Bad Boys, and Rodney Stuckey is not "The Microwave" nor is Kyle Singler anywhere near Joe Dumars, but the same logic applies when discussing the present situation. Kyle Singler compliments Brandon Knight's game better than Rodney Stuckey does, and Singler's activity on the floor gives the offense a better flow and the team a stronger presence on defense. When you're 1-8, scrambling to recover from an abysmal start, changes need to be made. It took Rodney Stuckey to suggest it, but the Pistons made the right change by flipping Singler and Stuckey.
Tags: Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Kyle Singler, Lawrence Frank, NBA, Rodney Stuckey
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