Stuckey in Neutral: Detroit shakeup begins

A new potent source of assists may have began a new era on Tuesday.

A new potent source of assists may have began a new era on Tuesday.

As promised by coach Michael Curry over the weekend, the Pistons began a team shakeup on Tuesday by changing to an ultra-small starting lineup of Rodney Stuckey, Allen Iverson, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace.

The changes also included the addition of Antonio McDyess, who played his first game with the team since being traded away in the deal for Iverson in early November.

The shakeup doesn’t affect the value of the regulars in the Pistons starting lineup, but it’s fair to say the Stuckey era has begun. He collected 10 points and 11 assists in 36 minutes, shooting 4-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line.

Stuckey is a no-brainer to claim off the waiver wire if you need assists, but what can you expect from him the rest of the season?

Thusfar in his brief career of just 74 games, Stuckey is averaging 14.7 points, 5.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.8 turnovers per 36 minutes. He has shot just over 40 percent from the floor and better than 80 percent from the line.

Those are solid numbers for any point guard. His FG% is poor (like most point guards) and he doesn’t rebound much or shoot 3-pointers. But asssists, steals and FT% are the bread and butter of many a solid fantasy guard.

Looking at the Pistons backcourt situation, Stuckey could very well be getting 30-38 minutes per game for the rest of the season. The Iverson/Hamilton backcourt simply wasn’t working and even though the Pistons lost on Tuesday, they shot 51 percent from the floor.

Stuckey did a fine job running the offense, committing only two turnovers. There is no reason to think he won’t stick in the lineup for the rest of the season.

As for McDyess, expect him to regain the same level of value as his last two seasons, which makes him borderline ownable. He can provide a moderate amount of rebounds (7.3 per game last season) and FG% (.497 career) if you need help in those categories.

A key development from Tuesday’s contest is that the arrival of McDyess resulted in exactly zero minutes for Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell, who were expected to gain a lager role in the frontcourt this season.

Both players have been wildly inconsistent thusfar and struggled with foul tr0uble. The Pistons are thin enough that they could have value later in the season, but the playing time is no longer there and both players seem like a lost cause.

I understand why the Pistons have temporarily bailed on Johnson, who has averaged better than seven fouls per 36 minutes. That’s hard to believe.

But Maxiell has been putting up per minute numbers similar to his career standards. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes and shooting 54 percent from the floor. At 25 years old, he deserves to be getting more minutes for a team that is 24th in rebounding and clearly in need of big men.

Kwame Brown was clearly not the answer.


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