A Warning About Stuckey-Mania in Detroit

By any measure, the Pistons are having a disappointing season. Meanwhile, their fans get to watch Chauncey Billups mold the Nuggets into a legitimate threat out West, all in the name of saving money and bringing along that much-bally hooed youth movement. You know, the one made up of Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo and most of all, Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey made Billups expendable -- or, if you want another way to look at it, Billups was holding Stuckey back -- making him the focal point of that blockbuster deal. That is, of course, beyond the failed Allen Iverson. ↵
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↵So with this season likely to end in an early playoff exit, fans are understandably looking for a bright spot. Iverson almost certainly isn't going to be around past this summer, and Maxiell, Johnson, and Afflalo aren't progressing as planned. Stuckey, though, is on his way to stardom, despite playing on a team with two All-Star-caliber guards (no, Rip Hamilton doesn't work as a SF). The formula is simple: If you like the Pistons, Stuckey was the impetus behind the trade that broke up the old, dependable nucleus, Stuckey is looking good, and thus, there are reasons to be happy. ↵
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↵But as The Flint Journal points out, if Stuckey-mania goes too far, it could backfire in the end: ↵
↵⇥There has been talk all around town about how Stuckey is just as talented as Wade and how he could possibly be better than him someday, but this is absolutely absurd! The Pistons fans in the state of Michigan are way too eager to place him in the same caliber with the elite players of the NBA before he pays his dues . . . I can see where the Wade and Stuckey comparisons stem from, but I am not ready to entertain them in any way, shape, or form. They do have similar slashing ability, as well as a similar body type and overall aggressiveness (... and the same jersey number) but that is where it stops. ↵
↵Amen. There's a reason why the phrase "a poor man's [insert name]" exists. It's for situations exactly like this, where a player has abilities that resemble those of a superstar, so much so that he deserves some sort of comparison as a compliment. Calling Stuckey "a poor man's Wade" isn't a diss on Stuckey, but the appropriate level of respect paid to a guard who is all but unstoppable this season. Stuckey might well get there eventually. For now, though, let's not label him "D-Wade 2," lest anything but the best case scenario come as a harsh dose of reality down the line.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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