As Stuckey goes, so goes offense

The Sports Xchange

The Pistons look much more dangerous when shooting guard Rodney Stuckey is breaking down defenses. When he struggles, they're usually in big trouble.

Stuckey had little to offer against Milwaukee Friday night, scoring seven points with one assist while committing five turnovers in just 16 minutes. Not surprisingly, the Pistons were blown out 113-97.

Though the Pistons have several guards capable of carrying the offense, Stuckey is clearly a difference-maker. Entering Friday's action, he was averaging 18.9 points on 50 percent shooting in their victories and 13.5 points on 38.9 percent shooting in their losses.

"Rodney is our best attacker," coach Lawrence Frank said. "His ability to attack and get into the paint, not only does it help him, it helps his teammates, whether it's kickouts for jumpers, dropoffs for layups or the ability to get us in the bonus early, which helps everyone. Rodney is an important cog to our team."

According to the website, Stuckey ranks No. 9 in its efficiency ratings among shooting guards who have played regularly this season.

"You saw during our best stretches of basketball how well he was playing," Frank said. "He compares very favorably to some of the top 'two' guards in the league."

His inability to stay healthy has been a significant reason why the Pistons are 15 games below .500 entering their home game against Chicago Sunday. Stuckey's legs, particularly the left one, have betrayed him at times during the condensed season. He missed five games in January with a sore groin, sat out three more in March with a sore left big toe and missed three more shortly thereafter with a sore left hamstring. The Pistons had a 2-9 record in those games.

Though he has appeared in the last six games, he's nowhere near 100 percent. Since he scored 27 points in Atlanta April 6, he has averaged 7.3 points.

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