Just one day after insisting that Rodney Stuckey would regain his spot in the starting lineup after missing a game, and the Pistons only victory, to the flu, coach Lawrence Frank has reversed course and announced that Kyle Singler will start and Stuckey will come off the bench.
It wasn't some late-night soul searching or a perusal of the DBB comments section that made Frank change his mind but Stuckey himself. The struggling shooting guard asked his coach following Thursday's practice if he could come off the bench (H/T to Kriz for alerting me in comments that the announcement was made).
"It's not because Kyle played better, it's because Rodney said, 'Hey, they had a great rhythm and flow," Frank said. "Rodney can be the dynamic guy off the bench. I'm not going to take a guy out the lineup because he had the flu and missed one game. That's a knee jerk reaction."
First, let's just acknowledge how great it is that when Frank is recalling his talk with Stuckey, the first word he attributes to him is, "Hey."
Next, I want to say that I couldn't be happier with the news. But don't think this was a purely selfless act by Stuckey. He thinks, and I agree, that coming off the bench could both help the team and his game.
This is what he told the Detroit News:
Stuckey envisions himself in the mold of James Harden when Harden was in Oklahoma City or J.R. Smith in New York now. Those are guys who are capable of starting but create a great matchup advantage coming off the bench. Playing with Will Bynum, Andre Drummond, Jonas Jerebko and Corey Maggette can give Stuckey more freedom offensively.
"Anything to help the team win, I'll sacrifice. Just switching some stuff up and being with the second unit," Stuckey said. "I just want to come in and impact the game. Being able to run more and get out in transition, it'll help us a lot. I have no ego."
Stuckey's play has suffered so far this season, as he hasn't been able to make plays and drive to the basket as he had in recent years, averaging just 9.3 points and 4.3 assists.
"We have scorers in the first unit; They're looking more to do more slow-it-down play," Stuckey said. "We all need the ball, but there's only one rock. Spread the love a little bit."
This just further confirms what he hinted at when asked originally about the idea of coming off the bench -- he'd do it to help the team if asked and besides, it might allow him to have the ball in his hands more and let him play his game.
Of course, that was originally shot down instantly by Frank who responded with a terse, "What about Will Bynum?" when asked about the possibility. I hope to explore the answer to that question in another post but that is a different discussion for a different day.
Spoiler alert -- the conclusion is: Don't. Play. Will. Bynum.
But for now let's all just bask in the glow of a change in strategy that looks like it could greatly benefit the odds of the Pistons actually being competitive night in and night out. We can all go back to bitching about playing time for Andre Drummond shortly.