The Curious Case Of The Pistons Draft
Rodney Stuckey, taken 15th overall, is the prototypical obscure player from a small-time program, Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference. We have been told he is athletic. We have been told he is tough. We have been told he is the type of combo guard that fits the Pistons’ mold. But has anybody actually seen him play? I watch a lot of college basketball, including many obscure late night games from the Western part of the country. I have a dish that carries a lot more college hoops than just ESPN. I have never seen Stuckey play. All I can tell you is what I have seen from video highlights on the Internet and during the draft itself. And to be honest, I can’t tell that much. I can’t criticize nor praise the Pistons for this pick because I don’t know what they have gotten. And there will be those who will say, "Trust Joe Dumars," on this one. Well, for all his success overall, Dumars has made more than a few draft blunders. Darko, Rodney White, Mateen Cleaves, etc. Guess what I am getting at is that instead of a number, the Pistons probably should put a question mark on the back of Stuckey’s jersey because he is the franchise’s mystery man.
Shooting guard Aaron Afflalo, taken 27th overall, presents a completely different twist. We have all seen him play. A lot, too. While hosting the draft show for WXYT Thursday night, I didn’t take one call from a listener who thought he was a quality pick. Afflalo doesn’t seem athletic enough to make an impact in the NBA. When matched up against NBA-caliber talent from Florida during the NCAA tournament, his lack of athleticism stood out like a sore thumb. He is a relatively inconsistent shooter from long range as well. I wonder, honestly, if he will even make the team. Sammy Mejia , another guard from DePaul, will also struggle to make this team. He was chosen by the Pistons during the second round.
This draft will be judged on the players taken after Stuckey and Afflalo. Two of them are from the University of Southern California -. Nick Young, taken the pick right after Stuckey by Washington, and Gabe Pruitt, taken a few picks after Afflalo by Boston. I thought both those players - guards - would have been better selections. Young can really shoot. Pruitt also can shoot and is much more athletic than Afflalo.
- Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run Thursday, but that milestone doesn’t mean nearly what it used to. Is Thomas a sure-thing Hall of Famer? I’m not sure. If there was no DH. If this was a different era during which it was more difficult to hit home runs. Would he still have posted such impressive numbers? I am also not sold on Craig Biggio as a Hall of Famer, either, despite his 3,000 hits.
- Speaking of hall of fame issues, Igor Larionov definitely belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a joke he is not in yet.
- Chad Durbin has pitched surprisingly well in relief. He has been effective because he has thrown strikes and gotten ahead in the count. There is nothing worse than control problems from a reliever trying to hold a lead. And those problems have hurt the Tigers’ bullpen all season.