WAITING FOR LIGHT TO GO ON
must be wondering - what's all the fuss about Rodney
Stuckey has not looked anything like a
difference-maker the Pistons expect him to be. He's
made some nice drives to the basket but he's also
gotten a few swatted. His outside shooting has been
terrible - he tossed up two airballs against Toronto
Tuesday. He also seems tentative at times running the
attack and then winds up looking for an option with
five seconds or less left on the shot clock.
Defensively, other than an occasional steal, he's been
rather ordinary as well.
It's way too early - and foolhardy - to start thinking
that Stuckey is overrated. Remember, the rookie missed
two months with a busted hand. When he came back, he
was thrown into the fire without any practice time.
And between the holidays and a schedule packed with
road games, the Pistons have barely practiced the last
Even Stuckey admits he's still searching for a rhythm
and that he's been second-guessing himself, rather
than playing aggressively.
Some coaches might back off and play a rookie less in
this situation, making him watch and learn. But the
Pistons have the luxury of letting Stuckey play
through his mistakes. They're going to play him more,
not less. Flip Saunders and Joe Dumars decided to
shorten the backcourt rotation, taking out Arron
Afflalo and giving Stuckey 20-25 minutes a game. That
allows him to play with the starters more often, which
will take some of the pressure off him.
If all goes well, Stuckey will be breaking down
defenses with regularity during the second half of the
season. More importantly, they'll have another "Sixth
Man", along with Jason Maxiell, who can change the
tempo or momentum when they enter a playoff game.