The Pistons knew in 2008 that it was time to break up their championship backcourt of Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton. They just didn’t know who would replace them and, to this day, continue to search for permanent fixtures at the guard positions.
When Detroit traded Billups to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson’s expiring contract, they thought they had his replacement in Rodney Stuckey. They signed Ben Gordon in the summer of 2009, perhaps with the intention of trading Hamilton to make room for a pairing of Stuckey and Gordon as the starters with Will Bynum as the third guard in the rotation. Hamilton was never dealt, however, creating a major logjam in the backcourt.
Furthermore, Stuckey struggled with running the offense, forcing Detroit to turn to the likes of Chucky Atkins and even swingman Tracy McGrady as the starting point guard. In the summer of 2011, the Pistons drafted Brandon Knight believing he would be the floor leader moving forward. The team bought out Hamilton’s contract to create a Knight-Stuckey pairing in the starting backcourt with Gordon and Bynum on the second unit.
Last summer, Gordon was traded, but Stuckey hasn’t been able to find his game. He was quickly removed from the starting lineup this season and replaced by rookie swingman Kyle Singler. Furthermore, Knight has battled through inconsistent play in terms of his shooting and playmaking. When the team dealt forward Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies for veteran point guard Jose Calderon, Singler was bumped up to small forward and Knight slid over to shooting guard, with Calderon taking over as the starting point.
As good as Calderon is as a playmaker, scorer and leader, he’s 32, struggles on the defensive end and will be a free agent this summer. Detroit drafted Knight with the intention of building around him at point guard. If the organization is no longer confident in him as a point guard, he needs to be moved and replaced by a true building block at the position, which Calderon is not.
If the Pistons still have faith in Knight at the point, they need to move him back there and let him continue to develop his game. They need to surround him with young, long, athletic talent on the perimeter.
Detroit has finally inserted rookie Andre Drummond into the starting center spot, with Greg Monroe shifting to power forward. It's a pairing up front the organization appears confident in building around. But if the Pistons fail to finally fix this backcourt, their losing ways will continue.