During the Detroit Pistons winning streak, Rodney Stuckey has been the unanimous Man of Steel. This has been a long time coming, considering all that the Pistons have gone through to get him to this point, (I mean, a whole season was thrown away for him! He'd better be improving!!)
But all joking aside, Stuckey is growing into a superb player.
Because of his recent play, it is necessary to bring up the question that has plagued him since Chauncey Billups was traded...
Will Stuckey become the Piston's point guard of the future?
He is scoring more, dishing out more assists, and pulling down more rebounds, and has truly stepped up in the Pistons' hour of need.
So yes, Stuckey will be the Piston's point guard of the future.
End of story.
Despite his impressive play, the team's current win streak merits a new question to be brought up...
Will Stuckey be the point guard that Joe Dumars envisioned him to become?
This question is harder to answer.
The point guard is the floor general. The player who leads his team through the fire and rain. The ball handler in the clutch-est of clutch situations. the commanding executor of the ballclub. See where I'm going with this?
There are point guards like Mo Williams, talented but unable to truly lead a team.
Then there are point guards, aka floor generals.
Stuckey has played very nicely, but he is receiving too much credit. He is gaining trust in clutch situations, but he is not truly the floor general.
By the way, what is a floor general?
Lets look at Chauncey Billups for input.
Billups makes the right decisions in clutch time. He hits the shots necessary to keep his team in contention. He is a skilled passer and an above average foul magnet.
But these traits do not make him the floor general.
It is his understanding of the moment, his ability to analyze and formulate the proper answer needed to help his team succeed, his inter-personal knowledge of not only his own teammates' style of play, but the overall manner and idiosyncrasies of his opponent's team, as well.
It is the way he leads his team on and off the court, the impressive suits he wears to games, the calmness he exerts in the final seconds, the quiet fierceness he displays when he hits his shots.
Now lets look at Deron Williams. He can shoot, and he is an excellent passer.
But it is the smoothness of his game, the silent determination he shows, the assuring vibe he gives to his teammates when the game is on the line.
For Steve Nash, it is his awe-inspiring handles, the re-assuring passion in his face when he is guiding his team, the exhilarating affirmation he tacitly gives you that his up-most desire is to win, the calming aura of the fact that he will not, and cannot, make a mistake when passing the ball.
See where I am going with this?
Stuckey, for all of his potential, does not have the talent or resources needed to become a floor general.
He has averaged 25 points a game during the streak. He is improving his passing. He is showing more confidence in his shooting.
But he is not ready to take it to the next level. This is where the problem lies, because we do not know what Joe D had in mind for Stuckey.
Did he want the flashy, shoot first point guard that Stuckey is becoming? Or did he want the calming leader who guides his team to the finish line?
If the latter is true, I can't help but think how good Stuckey would become if he had played one more year under Chauncey Billups.
Shame, really, considering what Mr. Big Shot has done in Denver. Stuckey is maturing, but he still makes bad decisions, has ugly turnovers. An extra year under Billups would have been monumental to his overall game.
But we must also look at the Piston's current situation. Based on the players that Joe D signed in the last offseason, a true point guard would seem redundant. Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon can both create their own shot.
But did he intend to sign these players in the first place?
To me, it seems that after realizing that Stuckey could not be a true floor general, he was forced to overpay two players who could create their own offense.
Now, the Pistons are in a financial rut, for they have no money left to risk on any more players.
But do they truly need a better supporting body around Stuckey?
For now, no.
But down the road, I honestly cannot say. This team has a lot of pieces, and it is hard to see how some of them will fit later on. So far, Stuckey has proved that he cannot handle everything that has been thrown at him. Chucky Atkins has also masked some of Stuckey's shortcomings.
Atkins likely won't be back after this season.
Therefore, Stuckey is ultimately the deciding factor when it comes to the future welfare of the team.
Don't let the Piston's recent play over-excite you.
This team has a loooooooooooong way to go.
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