Pistons Revert to Teeny Ball

Guess you figured out by now my New Year’s resolution wasn’t to blog more. I’ve been partially distracted with advanced planning for baseball season and I’ve been slacking. But I digress…..

Richard Hamilton made his return to the Pistons on Tuesday after missing eight games with a groin strain. After much conjecture about how the rotation would be altered, it appears Detroit has optioned to go back to the teeny ball lineup. I refuse to call it small ball because it’s way beyond that.

Look at Detroit’s starting five: Rodney Stuckey (6-5), Allen Iverson (6-0), Rasheed Wallace (6-11), Hamilton (6-7, 193 pounds), Tayshaun Prince (6-9, 215).

As far as the big guys off the bench, none saw 30 minutes. Antonio McDyess led the way with 29, Jason Maxiell got just over 11 and Amir Johnson was held to less than 10.

For a few days leading up to Hamilton’s return, fantasy owners were probably concerned about Stuckey or Hamilton returning to a reserve role. The biggest impact of Detroit’s return to teeny ball is that Stuckey’s value remains high. In fact, he is probably better than Iverson in terms of fantasy value among the Pistons players.

Consider numbers over the past 30 days:

Iverson: 18.4 points, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals, .408 FG%, .844 FT%

Stuckey: 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 1.4 steals, .486 FG%, .753 FT%

Now perhaps you would prefer Wallace (12.0 points, 1.8 3’s, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.6 blocks), but it’s pretty clear Stuckey has trumped Iverson of late. The one-dimensional Hamilton and multi-mediocre Prince aren’t really close.

Of course, there is a reason to monitor the situation. The teeny ball lineup hasn’t exactly worked all that well for the Pistons, who lost on Tuesday and have been pretty mediocre outside of seven-game winning streak that came against mostly bad teams.

So, a future shakeup is a possibility. But with the ineffectiveness of Detroit’s young bigs and Stuckey’s emergence as perhaps the team’s most well-rounded player, the young point guard appears here to stay.

Hamilton should provide close to last year’s value as his currently poor FG% (.451) begins to rise. However, don’t anticipate Iverson playing much better than his current rate, which is about a seventh-round value. He’s as bad a fit for Detroit as Shawn Marion is for Miami.

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