Rodney Stuckey to play, could start against Grizzlies

USA TODAY Sports

Mo Cheeks not ruling anything out regarding injured guard.

Rodney Stuckey will play and could even start Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies, according to media reports.

Update: He's playing, but not starting.

Stuckey missed Wednesday's season-opening win against the Washington Wizards and the last three weeks of preseason after breaking his thumb in a car door.

The injury was an unfortunate one for Stuckey, who is looking to rebound after the worst season of his professional career. And it seems the Pistons latest head coach was in the guard's corner. From MLive.com:

He said he isn't sure how to use Stuckey so quickly after missing time.  Cheeks emphasizes the rhythm of the game and suggested a few days ago that few players can return at full strength after three weeks off, but he also hinted recently that Stuckey would have been in his opening-night starting lineup if healthy.

"I'll think about it over the next day or so, think about how we get him in there," Cheeks said.

Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups started in the backcourt Wednesday, when the Pistons essentially went with a three-guard rotation, along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Stuckey's return gives the Pistons another ballhandler, and Cheeks has said he would prefer to have Bynum steering the second unit.

With starting point guard Brandon Jennings still out, the Pistons are thin at the guard spots so there is no ideal candidate to start at shooting guard.

My preference has been and remains to start rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP struggled with his offense throughout preseason and in his first NBA game, but his defense stood out. But neither he nor Kyle Singler could get their perimeter shots to go in.

And perimeter shooting is what the Pistons desperately want out of that shooting guard slot as they're looking to complement the big three of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. Stuckey is definitely not that shooter, but then again neither is Bynum and that didn't stop him from starting against the Wizards. And not having a perimeter threat didn't stop the Pistons from executing very well.

So I guess I'll reserve judgement. But things will make a lot more sense when Jennings and Luigi Datome (who could be the sharpshooter this team is craving) are healthy and integrated into the rotation.

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