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The Big Answer?: Rodney Stuckey

DF Then: How will losing 10 pounds in the offseason affect Stuckey’s game?

In three years, Rodney Stuckey has yet to turn the corner. Several reasons have been offered, but none of them have involved his weight (at least that I’ve heard).

Regardless, Stuckey lost 10 pounds this summer. I have absolutely no idea how this makes him better. (I’m not saying it won’t. I’m just saying I don’t see how it will.)

I keep hearing about playing for the same coach two years in a row making a big difference, but I don’t buy that. I just don’t think it’s that big a deal in the NBA, where players switch teams mid-season and contribute the next night.

So, if Stuckey takes the next step, I’m not sure what the reason will be. Maybe it will be the weight loss.

DF Now: Minimally, if at all

It’s impossible to compare how Stuckey would have played had he not lost the pounds, but he didn’t look much different than last year. His field-goal percentage at the rim was higher early in the season, and it finished higher than last year. But wouldn’t his weight loss mean more late in the season?

I could be missing something, but I just didn’t see any tangible results from Stuckey’s summer.

PH Then: Will he make people want to play with him?

I’m sure Rodney Stuckey’s teammates like him just fine. But the thing that struck me most about his “need to be a vocal leader” comments from media day was my belief that great point guards don’t need to let everyone know they are going to be the vocal leader.

People want to play with Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups. Those guys do one thing despite their very different styles: they make their teammates better. Some of them, like Rose, Westbrook and Rondo, aren’t pure points. Some of them love to run (Nash, Paul) and some are masters of the halfcourt (Williams, Billups). But whether it’s through their ability to find open teammates, or their ability to draw the defense with their scoring ability, or their ability to lock up the other team’s best backcourt player, all of them do something unique that creates opportunities for teammates to excel.

To this point in his career, Stuckey doesn’t do that. If he finds what his “it” is, something that he always does that makes him a unique player, he won’t have to go around telling people about his intentions to be a leader anymore.

PH Now: No

Despite closing the season seemingly trying to prove every critic wrong with a great five game stretch, Stuckey’s season was a mess.

As the starter at point guard early on, the Pistons played too slowly, Stuckey was consistently late with passes in the halfcourt and he was often confused as to when to attack and when not to. Midway through the season, he moved to shooting guard where many insist should be his only position, and was still inconsistent. He had several feuds with his coach that made both Stuckey and John Kuester look bad.

And then, maddeningly, he closed the season showing that he actually does know when to attack vs. distribute. Stuckey is still an intriguing talent, but in no way has answered any questions about his ability to lead a good team from the point guard spot.

12 Comments

  • May 13, 201111:44 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    I’ll be happy with three scenarios for Stuckey:
     
    1) We bring him back with a Qualifying Offer, assuming he doesn’t get offered a contract to his liking elsewhere.
    2) We S&T him for a real PG or a rotation big man.
    3) We let him walk if he’s offered a contract north of $5 million per.
     
    I have every confidence that Dumars will do none of those things, though, and way overpay Stuckey, because Stuckey seems to be the one mistake Joe’s not willing to admit.

    • May 13, 201112:33 pm
      by Marvin Jones

      Reply

      Stuckey was not a “mistake”, he’s a very talented guard we got with the 15th pick. He’s just as much of a point guard as Rose and Westbrook are without their athlecticism. I think the term for guards like Stuckey, Rose and Westbrook are lead guards, they’re basically score first guards who handle the ball well enought to run the point but need the ball in their hands to be most effective. Stuckey just needs a good coach, like Chauncey did with LB, to show him how to an effective point guard. 

      • May 13, 20112:08 pm
        by brgulker

        Reply

        To mention Stuckey in the same breath as Westbrook and Rose is to deny reality. Stuckey is a useful player, sure, and he’s the best guard currently employed by the Pistons (after McGrady leaves).
         
        But if you think trading Billups to give the keys of the franchise to Stuckey wasn’t a “mistake,” well, you’re just kidding yourself.

        • May 13, 20113:22 pm
          by Marvin Jones

          Reply

          The Pistons were going nowhere with Billups and at some point a franchise has to start over, trading Billups was the start of that. I would argue that the lack of a good coach has been more of a problem than “handing the keys of the franchise to Stuckey”.  The reality is that Rose and Westbrook are shoot first guards just like Stuckey. Unlike Stuckey, they have better teamates and better coaching. Obviously being more athletic helps cover a multitude of sins. If you’ve noticed a lot of the talk of this postseason has been centered on Rose and Westbrook taking too many shots and that’s because they look for their offense first, just like Stuckey. I cant count how many times Rose or Westbrook have lowered their heads and drove in 1 on 4, just like Stuckey. Westbrook leads the postseason in turnovers for gods sake. I’m not saying that Stuckey’s great but he’s more than mediocre. Stuckey is a keeper just get a good coach and keep getting better players and we’ll be fine. Ask yourself, how may lottery picks are Rose and Westbrook playing with.  

          • May 13, 201111:04 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            “At some point a franchise has to start over”
            You are absolutely right about that. But the point is most definitely not when they are a perennial conference finalist. Even if they have fallen from strong contender to darkhorse contender status, you don’t blow it up until you are not a contender at all. That said, the Billups trade was still not a stupid move, just an unfortunate one. Stuckey was not handed the keys to the franchise when Billups left–Iverson was. And it was probably a 50/50 shot that Iverson would outperform Billups. Stuckey was given the keys to the franchise when a) Iverson didn’t pan out and b) Dumars threw all his money at Gordon/Villanueva.
            Ultimately though, with a contender on his hands, Joe D should have traded promising young players (some combo of Stuckey, Amir Johnson, Afflalo, Maxiell, draft picks) for immediate help. The Pistons may well not have gotten another title. But they also might have gotten one. And they would certainly have been better for fans the past couple years.

      • May 13, 201110:56 pm
        by Tim Thielke

        Reply

        Drafting Stuckey was not a mistake. But overvaluing him, prematurely making him the golden boy/franchise player, and making him the one sacred cow on the roster were all mistakes. So yes Stuckey was a mistake, not from day one, but from year two. Although there is still a chance that he is a redeemable error.

  • May 13, 201112:34 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    Stuckey happens to be the best guard on the roster, which isn’t saying much, but I’m sure Dumars will look at it as what’s the alternative? And I’m not sure there is a better alternative other than winning the lotto and drafting Irving. The downside is that he’ll most likely overpay to keep a mediocre player. Best case scenario is that Stuckey accepts the qualifying offer obviously. That buys one more year to figure something out vs. locking yourself into him for the foreseeable future.
     
    Looking around the league though I’m not sure how much interest there would be in Stuckey this offseason, and if the MLE is eliminated it would really help the Pistons otherwise they’d probably have to match an MLE offer. Without the MLE there won’t be many teams to contend with. Of course it’s not like Dumars had any competition for Gordon and he went bonkers there.

    • May 13, 20112:11 pm
      by brgulker

      Reply

      The alternative to overpaying Stuckey is  to let the fairly-payed Will Bynum play PG. The reality is that we won’t be competitive next year, regardless of which of those two plays PG. And in my view, it would make more sense to let WB play (while the team struggles) than to overpay to keep Stuckey (while the team still struggles).
       
      Honestly, the last thing this team needs is another mediocre guard on a bloated contract.

    • May 13, 201111:09 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Furthermore, whenever you are a non-contending team, there is the alternative of waiting until a reasonably

  • [...] • Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey is set to be a restricted free agent, so this was a big season for him. Here’s one assessment of how he did. [...]

  • May 13, 20116:49 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    The whole problem of Stuckey’s season is summed up in Patrick’s second “now.” Early in the season Stuckey was ordered to play slow and when he finally rebelled, he was punished. There were significant moments after that and before the final stretch run, but somehow Kuester (well with help from food poisoning and Carmelo Anthony’s criminality) managed to crush them before they helped the team significantly. That is all you need to know about Stuckey’s season. What that means for him this off season, however, then becomes the question …

  • May 13, 20118:53 pm
    by travis

    Reply

    marvin you hit the nail on the head. stuckey is just less athletic than those 2. their athleticism allows some finishes that stuckey just barely misses. i think everyone who even remotely thinks stuckey is negative for the team is just looking for a scapegoat. stuckey is better than a mediocre player.  if he is not an all star or considered a snub next year. then ill finally give up on him. but until then he is a good player in my eyes and i see basketball with good depth.

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