The Pistons Introduce Stuckey And Afflalo

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Joe Dumars knows what happens when an NBA power waits too long to rebuild.
After all, he spent the end of his own Hall of Fame career on a bad Detroit Pistons team that collapsed when the "Bad Boys" got old.
That's why, after two straight losses in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons president is happy about picking up a pair of guards in the first round of Thursday's draft.
Detroit took Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey with the 15th pick and UCLA's Arron Afflalo at No. 27.
"We talked about upgrading our talent base, upgrading our youth, athleticism and guys that come in with a hunger to win," Dumars said at a press conference with the two rookies on Friday. "I feel very confident about these two young men sitting here and what they're going to bring to us."
Although Stuckey comes from an obscure school in a mid-major conference and Afflalo went to college basketball's showcase school, Dumars thinks they both got the experience they need to make a quick impact in the NBA.
"These two guys have been battle-tested in their own way," he said. "Rodney from the standpoint of carrying his entire team, have to be the guy that does everything for his team. Arron from the standpoint of playing for a program like UCLA where he had to be the rock of that team; the glue that holds everything together."
Stuckey, though, knows that he will have to convince people that he can handle the jump from the Big Sky Conference to the NBA.
"People will say that the competition is not that high, but I know I'm ready," he said. "I have that fire inside me, and that confidence that I can play with the best players."
Stuckey averaged more than 24 points a game in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, and finished fourth on Eastern Washington's career scoring list despite only playing two seasons and spending most of his time at point guard.
"When I started watching tapes, he was creating plays for himself and for his team -- that's what caught my eye," Dumars said.
Stuckey's biggest negative in the eyes of the Pistons might be his basketball idol -- Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.
"I love watching D-Wade -- that's one of the main reasons I wear No. 3," he said. "But when it comes to me playing against him, I ain't going to be his best friend. I'm going to do what I have to do."
Afflalo, though, has role models that are a little more suitable to Dumars' taste. He grew up in Tayshaun Prince's hometown of Compton, Calif. and has played in summer leagues against both Prince and Chauncey Billups.
"Those guys are extremely great players, and great competitors," Afflalo said. "Even in a setting such as an open run in a gym, those guys continue to compete and play to win, and play with heart. I'm the same way. Whenever I step on the floor, whether I'm in the park or an open gym or playing here for the Pistons, I'm going to put my heart into it."
By drafting two guards in the first round and a third -- DePaul's Sammy Mejia -- with the 57th pick, Dumars has opened up a lot of questions about the future of veterans like Lindsey Hunter and Flip Murray.
"I think when you add a couple young men like this, what it does is it lets your entire organization, your city, your fans, your media, it lets everybody know that complacency and the status quo will not be tolerated," he said.


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