Rodney Stuckey simply can’t catch a break. It was reported yesterday that Stuckey had broken his thumb in an apparent door jamb accident. You read that correctly. Stuckey underwent surgery today and will now be out indefinitely because he got his thumb stuck in the door of a car. Smooth.
So what does this mean for the Detroit Pistons as they prepare to start their season? As unfortunate as this is for Stuckey, this may actually be a good thing for the Pistons.
Head coach Maurice Cheeks had recently stated that the starting shooting guard spot would be a competition between Stuckey and veteran Chauncey Billups. Cheeks has also gone on record expressing how much he likes what Stuckey brings to the table.
With the other four starting spots being filled out by Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, inserting Stuckey into the starting lineup sounds like a spacing disaster. Now that he is injured, it sounds like Billups will win the starting spot by default.
Don’t get things misconstrued. I think Stuckey is a good player and could provide quite a bit of value to the Pistons this season. However, I think that value is best found with him coming off the bench. Stuckey does not have a great jump shot. While he thrives at driving the lane and drawing fouls, helping to spread the floor and create space is not on the list of Rodney Stuckey’s strengths.
Stuckey’s absence will also open up more possible playing time for Will Bynum and Kyle Singler. More importantly, it could provide first-round draft pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a bigger opportunity to see the floor and get used to the speed of the NBA sooner rather than later.
There is a downside to this as well, aside from the obvious absence of Hot Rod. If Caldwell-Pope can’t adjust to the pace of the game early on and the Pistons’ coaching staff demands more of him anyway because of Stuckey’s injury, it could have a negative effect on his confidence and development, not to mention the Pistons’ win total.
Stuckey is also a possible trade chip for the Pistons this season. Having less time to show him off to potential suitors could decrease his trade value. Then again, Stuckey could do that on his own by playing poorly when he is on the floor.
Either way, at least this means we’ll see another deep threat on the floor with a starting front court that could end up spending too much time stepping on each other’s toes.