I'll admit I've been a Pistons fan my whole life—through the championship years as well as terrible ones—which is why I feel I can be honest in assessing the team and not be considered a fair-weather fan.
This year I've kept a more open mind about some of the veterans on the team. I've watched most of the Pistons' games, but I decided early on that I would stay quiet with my opinions and give this team the benefit of the doubt and a chance for the veterans to gel with a few young potential cornerstones.
I strongly believe that that there are three players that have star potential on this team: Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe (who will be a multiple All-Star), and Andre Drummond, along with a solid contributor in Kyle Singler. I also have a soft spot for Jonas Jerebko, who always plays with a huge heart and came back last year from a devastating Achilles injury, and gritty point guard Will Bynum.
The one player on the Pistons that has constantly frustrated me is Stuckey. I believe that he slows down the offense with his play, which is jeopardizing the team's success. Stuckey doesn't fit well in the backcourt with Knight, which is hindering his development.
When the Pistons drafted Stuckey in 2007, he was only 21 years old and was being compared to Dwayne Wade. The most exciting part of the draft for fans is to see what type of players their teams drafted and what type of projection they can expect in the years ahead.
Unfortunately, instead of being the best player Rodney Stuckey can be, I think he's trying too hard to be like Dwyane Wade.
Stuckey at 26 years old can no longer be given a pass for his actions. He hasn't developed like the Pistons thought, and he plays like he thinks he's the star while in reality he's an average shooting guard who can get hot sometimes. He forces too many shots instead of looking to pass and sometimes makes bad decisions with the ball.
In fairness to him, the Pistons didn't help him either by keeping him at point guard when they should have moved him to shooting guard earlier in his career. His specialty is one-on-one play and getting to the basket, not being a distributor.
He is in the second year of his three-year, $25M contract, and I think he's looking to leave Detroit as soon as he is an unrestricted free agent. In the past when he has pouted, I feel the team has protected him and tried to shield him from criticism, but they need to try and unload him before it's too late. To me, it would be addition through subtraction.
The difference between a good player and great one is being able to recognize when to attack the defense and when to get your teammates involved. Stuckey needs to understand that with team success comes all of the individual accolades like All-Star appearances and larger contracts, and then he'll finally be able live up to the potential he showed in college.
I truly hope he develops into a star and has success in the NBA, but I feel it needs to happen with another team that has strong veteran leaders, which would allow him to learn and be just another player instead of thinking of himself as the next Dwayne Wade.
It's a not a surprise that with Stuckey sidelined with an ankle injury, the Pistons displayed an all-around team effort on Friday night behind Will Bynum's great game in upsetting the Heat. It's games like this that make it enjoyable to watch a hard-working young team grow together and see what their potential could be like in the future.
I just hope that Joe Dumars and the Pistons front office were watching Friday night's game and realize that the team on the court stepped up and played a type of basketball that hasn't occurred often the last couple of years.
I'd love to hear your opinion on Stuckey and if you think he has a future with the Pistons.
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