During the 2004 Pistons’ championship run and the subsequent Eastern Conference Finals run, the team had plenty of depth at the shooting guard position. Whether it was starter Richard Hamilton or any of his backups (Carlos Delfino, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Evans to name a few), Detroit had no real problem rotating in players. This year, however, there are just two 2-guards on the team’s roster, leading many to believe that GM Joe Dumars might put together a trade to land some roster depth.
After the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups in November 2008, the team tried passing off Stuckey as the team’s next point guard. Unfortunately for them, it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; the five-year veteran is meant to be a scorer first and foremost. His averages have dipped in the last two seasons, but now that he is firmly entrenched at the shooting guard position, it’s not unreasonable to think he could average 18-20 points in 2012. With a growing roster of legitimate talent, opponents will have more to worry about; Stuckey’s aggressive drives to the basket and expanding shooting range should allow him to blossom. While his offense is what will keep him in Lawrence Frank’s rotation next season, his isolation defense is good enough to funnel opponents into the middle, where any one of the Pistons’ big men should be waiting. Pick-and-roll defense remains somewhat of a problem, but after another summer of training, Stuckey may finally reach the potential he entered into the league with.
Despite being the 44th pick in last year’s draft, English could very well play a large role in the Pistons’ 2012 campaign. On a team that shot just 35% from beyond the three-point line last season, his ability to shoot from deep is a welcome skill. In his senior year of college at Mizzou, English shot 45.9% from three-point range and 39.4% for his entire career. With Greg Monroe down low and Brandon Knight penetrating to the basket, the threat of English awaiting a pass on the wing has to enter a defender’s mind. He isn’t the most athletic guard that the Pistons have, but he has a high basketball IQ, plays passionate defense, and is willing to pass up his shot for a better one.