But there was also another side to the locker room discord. Rodney Stuckey, like Prince, had a couple of spats with Kuester. Unlike Prince, though, Stuckey was benched for his transgressions while Prince largely went on in the same role he’d always occupied. So if anyone would have a reason to hold a grudge against Kuester, I would think, it would be Stuckey. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports Stuckey has moved on to though:
“There’s nothing to close. There are no problems,” Stuckey said. “It is what it is. If he says hi to me, I’ll say hi back. It’s not like I’m going to try and fight him. That’s all over. It’s behind us, and everybody’s moving on.”
It’s pretty easy to read between the lines and decipher that the Stuckey-Kuester relationship was an uncomfortable one. Stuckey has frequently talked this season about the importance of playing for a coach who believes in him. The implication, of course, is that previous Pistons coaches may not have believed in him.
Kuester was certainly flummoxed when it came to figuring out how to use Stuckey at his optimum effectiveness. Stuckey is at his best when he can push the ball up court and make quick decisions, Kuester’s offense usually called for Stuckey to walk it up and play halfcourt. Stuckey is a better playmaker when he’s sharing those responsibilities on the court with someone else, yet he rarely got the opportunity to play off the ball until late last season. Still though, Kuester regularly praised Stuckey — he often talked about Stuckey’s potential to be one of the league’s better defensive guards.
Once again, just like every relationship that went wrong last year, there’s plenty of blame to go around here. I’m just happy we’re not forced to discuss these kinds of issues again every week.
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