Detroit Pistons: Why the Pistons Need Rodney Stuckey to Make the Leap in 2013-14

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Detroit Pistons: Why the Pistons Need Rodney Stuckey to Make the Leap in 2013-14
Allen Einstein/Getty Images
The Detroit Pistons need Rodney Stuckey to elevate his game in order to end their postseason drought

The Detroit Pistons have arguably their most talented team since their 2004 championship run. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond give the Pistons one of the most dynamic duos under the basket in the league. Throw in versatile big man Josh Smith and the Pistons have a three-man threat underneath that rivals any team in the league. Size is not an issue for this squad.  

Will Bynum and Brandon Jennings give Detroit a solid combination of scoring guards, each averaging double figures.  Chauncey Billups provides much-needed veteran leadership, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is being groomed to be the future star of the Pistons. Rookie guard Peyton Siva is a great on-ball defender with solid ball-handling ability. However, Siva is no scoring threat.

Rodney Stuckey must elevate his game in order for Detroit to reach their postseason goals.

Stuckey has started 260 games for the Pistons during his six-year career and was sent to the bench once Billups and Jennings came to the Motor City. Stuckey has yet to start a game this season but is fifth on the team in minutes per game (26.9) and fourth on the team in points per game (14.6). Stuckey's 14.6 PPG ranks second among guards for the Pistons, trailing only Jennings' 16.8 average.  

Allen Einstein/Getty Images
Stuckey will be critical in taking pressure off of Brandon Jennings and Will Bynum

With Billups past his prime and Caldwell-Pope less than a dozen games into his NBA career, Stuckey will be essential in taking pressure off of Bynum and Jennings. The season is still early, but it looks like the Pistons will rely on Stuckey early and often. Stuckey's 300 minutes played thus far is second among guards for Detroit, trailing only Jennings' 345.

The biggest weakness for this Detroit team is the inability to hit three-point shots with any consistency. Stuckey is currently shooting a career-best 39 percent from beyond the arc. Detroit as a unit is currently shooting a miserable 28.8 percent from the three-point line.

The season is extremely young, but thus far, Stuckey is averaging career highs in field-goal percentage, three-point percentage and free-throw percentage. For the Pistons to break their postseason drought, they will need Stuckey to continue and improve upon his strong production off the bench.

Stuckey needs to perform in a way that makes Detroit question whether or not he should be coming off the bench or starting. Then, and only then, will Detroit be taken serious as not just a playoff contender, but a contender for the Central Division as well. 

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