Zach Lowe of The Point Forward wrote a post on the Eastern Conference’s restricted free agents to be, and he split nearly all the free agents into two groups: “stock has risen” and “stock has dropped.” I was pretty curious how Lowe categorized Rodney Stuckey, and Lowe, who consistently and excellently embraces nuance, didn’t disappoint. He created a third group – “The Huge Unknown” – and made Stuckey its lone member:
What a strange season for Stuckey, who started by scoring more often and more efficiently, and generally making it look like a no-brainer that the Pistons would retain him despite all the money they’re already paying to worse players. But then Tracy McGrady took the reins of the offense (an offense that still ranks just 21st in points per possession) and started hitting Chris Wilcox on smooth-looking pick-and-rolls, and everyone started wondering again if Stuckey is really a point guard. Now Stuckey’s minutes, scoring and shooting percentages have all come down, and Detroit might have a much tougher decision here than most anticipated.
Even so, this would be an easy choice if the Pistons didn’t owe nearly $85 million combined in future salary to Charlie Villanueva, Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon. But they do owe all that cash — at least for now — and “losing” Stuckey would be one quick way to grab a nice chunk of cap room this offseason. It’s, perhaps, worth noting that Detroit’s offense has played much better with Stuckey on the floor, though how much that means is unclear.
Questions aside, Stuckey is obviously worth his qualifying offer, and the Pistons must know a team looking for backcourt help will go hard after a 25-year-old with a PER only a tick below Rajon Rondo’s.
I know Lowe didn’t write that with this in mind – he didn’t even use the t-word – but that sounds like a heck of a case for trading Stuckey.
By the way, how would you feel about nicknaming Stuckey, “THU” (The Huge Unknown)?