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Is Lindsey Hunter’s role expanding on offense?

Spotted this Sunday headline over at Hunter proves he's still more than Pistons' defensive specialist

It caught my eye after watching a mini-debate on this topic take shape in the comments of Ian's recap of Friday's win over the Pacers. Hunter scored a season-high eight points in that game (to go with three steals), with most of the production coming on a couple of three pointers. It was the first game all year that he's attempted more than two threes -- he finished 2-6 from beyond the arc, and 3-8 from the field as a whole.

In the article, A. Sherrod Blakely had this to say:

Hunter, who ranks second in career 3-pointers made (742) and attempted (2,034) by a Piston, proved he still has a knack for knocking down big shots with a season-high eight points, which included two 3-pointers, in Detroit's 75-72 win at Indiana on Friday.

Teammates agree that Hunter's shooting skills often go unnoticed.

"People definitely forget about that," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups. "He's been a scorer in this league for a lot of years, and always been a great shooter."

What was left unsaid:

Hunter's career three-point shooting percentage: .365
Hunter's shooting percentage the past five years: .380 in 01-02; .318 in 02-03; .280 in 03-04; .274 in 04-05; and .234 thus far in 05-06.

His decline begain almost immediately after he quit being a starter in this league. What I had hoped this article would do was investigate the "chicken or the egg" question: did Lindsey head to the bench when he lost his shot, or does he struggle with his shot when he enters games cold? Is it something else altogether, such as his efforts to focus his intensity entirely on defense? And if that's the case, does the team think that reversing the decline might be as easy as simply asking Hunter to play a larger offensive role?

Instead, the article is just a teaser about how Chauncey Billups has been on Hunter to shoot more, and that Hunter is finally shaking off enough rust where he's feeling comfortable on both ends. Too bad so many questions were left unanswered -- this could make for an interesting discussion if we knew more information.

Hunter proves he's still more than Pistons' defensive specialist []