Just days after Detroit Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks declared that it would be an open competition at the shooting guard spot, he is reportedly signing a slightly different tune as of Wednesday morning.
When asked by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free-Press, Cheeks had this to say about the battle for the starting spot:
“Probably Rodney will, but I don’t know if Kentavious will or not. I’m not sure. I just don’t think he will be starting at this point. I reserve the right to change my mind, but as of this point, no. It would do him a disservice for me to say, ‘No, he’s not going to start,’ because he’s played as well as anybody in training camp.”
That seems to be a far cry from his previous comments, but it isn’t entirely surprising. The Pistons have millions and millions (3 years, $25.5 million) invested in Stuckey, and Caldwell-Pope is considered to be pretty raw for an NBA lottery pick. However, Caldwell-Pope has significantly more upside, and there has been considerably chatter that he would be the best fit for the new-look team.
Stuckey’s reputation as a shoot-first, position-less combo guard precedes him, and frankly, it’s spot-on. Caldwell-Pope’s 1-for-12 shooting performance (against Maccabi Haifa) on Tuesday may have been the decisive factor, but for me, he’s the better option, both now and moving forward.
The focus of the 2013-14 Pistons probably won’t be on the shooting guard spot with Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith in the fold, but it could be crucial if Detroit is aiming to make a “leap” this season.