Rodney Stuckey rarely dunks when he goes inside and other thoughts on the point guard’s future with the Detroit Pistons
A lot of interesting points were brought up in the comments for last week’s post on Rodney Stuckey’s free-throw attempts, and I want to flush some of them out in greater detail. Consider this a continuation to that post.
Stuckey is the best chance
Do I think Stuckey can be the player on a championship contender? Yes. Do I think he will be? No.
But if the Pistons are going to become a championship contender at some point, somebody will have to be the best player on that team. And I think Stuckey is the best chance in sight.
I don’t anyone on the team now is more likely to fill that role.
I don’t think any realistic free agents are more likely to fill that role.
And unless Detroit moves up in the lottery, I don’t think anyone available with the seventh pick will be more likely to fill that role. (I believe John Wall, Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson and Greg Monroe will be off the board.)
Stuckey doesn’t dunk much
Rodney Stuckey dunked just five times last year, according to CBSSports.com. That ranks him 242nd of 442 players.
DaJuan Summers dunked more. Thirty-seven-year-old Juwan Howard dunked more. Chris Richard, who made as many shots this season as Stuckey’s single-game career high, dunked more.
What’s most perplexing (troubling?) is Stuckey went inside so often. He led the Pistons in shots at the rim (408) and ranked 25th in the league and fifth among point guards.
Stuckey dunked on 1.2 percent of his shots at the rim. The average player makes a dunk on 13.5 percent of his shots at the rim.
Who deserves blame?
Maybe Stuckey’s lack of dunks and low field-goal percentage at the rim (.493) can be attributed to the Pistons’ poor 3-point shooting. Detroit’s lack of perimeter threats allows opposing defenses to pack the lane and defend Stuckey.
Or does Stuckey’s inability to drive to the rim effectively allow teams to defend the perimeter better?
I think it’s a combination of both, with more blame lying with Detroit’s poor outside shooting.
I looked at each team’s leader in shots at the rim among guards and small forwards. I charted their field-goal percentage at the rim against their teammates’ 3-point percentage (which is slightly flawed because it accounts for all 3-pointers, not just when the shots-at-rim leader is on the court – but I think it still serves the point).
Stuckey’s teammates shot worse from beyond the arc than any other player plotted. But he still didn’t shoot as well at the rim as would be expected.
Hopefully, Ben Gordon and the rest of the Pistons shoot better on 3-pointers next season. That would help us learn a lot about Stuckey. Plus, it would make Detroit better.
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