I am wondering what the stuttering you describe looks like. Is it roughly the equivalent to what I'm getting here?http://www.hexara.com/gameNS.html
After loading a puzzle (from the file menu), you can click and drag an icon around. There is a slight stutter. I'm wondering if it is comparable to what you are complaining about. I'm using a Timer to trigger a repaint() call on a JPanel once every 33 msec.
I wouldn't be surprised if your stutter has more to do with limitations of the MouseMotionListener than anything else. I was recently trying to implement a JSlider and it was similarly no where near as smooth as it seems like it should have been. Here is a theory based on total speculation (hopefully someone will set it straight): code run via Listener calls execute on the EDT and are prone to "consolidation". It seems to me I ran a System.out.println() for the listener AND for the object scheduled to receive the info, and many of the listener outputs would never reach the target, which had code checking the field 44100 times a second (once per sound sample).
So, I'm guessing that a lot of the MouseMotionListener updates never reach your draw command, due to similar consolidation. Someone please shoot this down, as it doesn't totally make sense that a Listener would update at a certain rate and then not be able to pass the info on at the same rate.