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Rodney Stuckey for Most Improved Player

Patrick has repeatedly complained about the Pistons not promoting their players – especially irritating considering how hard they sell their halftime acts. So, we’re doing something about it.

Though the Pistons are finishing a lousy season, they still have players who deserve at least consideration for post-season awards, and we’re going to tell you why. But because we don’t receive a paycheck from the Pistons, we’re not going to stop there like they would if they conducted this campaign themselves. We’re also going to evaluate whether the player actually deserves the honor.

Here’s our look at Rodney Stuckey for Most Improved Player.

Making the case

Patrick Hayes: There should be an element of surprise to the Most Improved Player award, right? Well, it’s not that surprising that a healthy Andrew Bynum has blossomed with a more central role in the Lakers’ offense. It’s not surprising that young players like James Harden or Greg Monroe have rapidly improved.

Stuckey, though? His overall numbers won’t look much different from what he did early in his career, but after his early-season injury and before his late-season injury, he was one of the best guards in the league. In February and March, he shot 48 percent, got to the line seven times per game and averaged nearly 20 points per game. He continued to take good care of the ball and he established a career-best in 3-point shooting this year at 33 percent. He looked like he was making the leap, and typically, guys in their fifth year in the league don’t do that.

Dan Feldman: Stuckey signed late, missed preseason practices and started the season slowly. As a result, his numbers this season don’t jump off the page compared to previous years. But, when it comes to this award, should Stuckey really be penalized for that?

Stuckey’s approach has improved tremendously. He’s getting to the free-throw line and shooting 3-pointers better than ever before – two marks of the league’s most efficient perimeter players. Plus, he’s become a better teammate. Not everything shows up in the numbers.

Honest assessment

Patrick Hayes: Unfortunately, Stuckey picked up another nagging injury late in the season that killed any momentum he had for this award. It’s unfortunate, because if he could’ve closed as strong as his previous two months, he would’ve had an intriguing case. Instead, we’ll just have to hope that he gets himself fully healthy in the offseason and picks up next year where he left off in March.

Dan Feldman: Especially as it relates to his improved relationship with coaches and teammates, Stuckey is, at best, an unconventional candidate for Most Improved Player. But his poor start and awful finish – 19 total points in his last five games – has eliminated him from even discussion of the award.

Stuckey probably won’t get any votes, and that’s fair, but I at least wanted to acknowledge that he’s better than last year.


  • Apr 25, 20127:02 pm
    by DoctorDaveT


    Best “Attitude Adjustment” Award?

  • Apr 25, 20128:29 pm
    by Moe


    if were gonna have a true shot at finals i see guys like him , a hidden weapon, winning games for us.

  • Apr 26, 20126:20 am
    by Derek


    I was really down on Stuckey going into this season.  I didn’t want him back.  But he really won me over with his efficient play and hardnosed play this year.  The move to the two, the off-season therapy, the stable management/ownership, and the structured coach was just what he needed to turn the corner.

    A lot of times it is the right situation that produces the right players and I think that was the case with Stuckey.  He is converting around the basket.  He is getting to the line.  He is making perimeter shots in the clutch.  He is playing strong defense on opposing players.

    There are several minuses we could apply to his year with the dramatic drop in production over the last few games of the season.  The multiple single digit scoring games.  The multiple zero point games.  But then we have to qualify them and wonder if he has been asked to reliquinish the Alpha dog approach and give some of the other players an opportunity to  develop.

    In the final analysis, Stuckey may not win the NBA award for most improved player, but as team awards go he should be right there with Moose as one of the most improved players on the Pistons.

    With the draft lottery looming, let’s hope we get an athletic big who can compliment Moose…ahem Anthony Davis!

    • Apr 26, 20128:20 am
      by Steve K


      Agreed. And he’s established himself as perhaps the 2nd most important Piston going into next season. He’s not a liability… and that’s saying something with this squad.

  • Apr 26, 20128:34 am
    by 2tough


    This can’t be a serious question. Stuckey for most improved player when almost all of his stats are significantly worse than last year’s? Come on. Stuck had 2 great months, but 2 months is less than half the season. He was horrible the rest of the season.

    • Apr 26, 20129:14 am
      by MrHappyMushroom


      Yeah, I understand that the purpose of this series isn’t to make serious proposals, but just to get conversations started.
      But 2tough’s point is both correct and obvious.  Rodney had two really good months.  Sandwiching them were a very poor start and an awful final ten games.  He was (as he usually is) injury prone and had stats not much different than past years.
      I’m not even sure that I see improvement at all, much less the most in the League.  I don’t feel like going through every team’s roster, but there must be a dozen or two better candidates, seeing as had an inconsistent year in which he was pretty much his average self.

      • Apr 27, 20125:59 pm
        by tarsier


        There are well over a dozen or two better candidates. Yes, Stuckey improved as a player. But his season was not really an improvement over last season. That is a key distinction. And this is after all, a seasonal award.

  • Apr 26, 201210:12 am
    by Biff Tannen


    I found it amusing that anyone would praise Stuckey’s 3-point shooting when it’s still at 33%. He’s still a guy you don’t want shooting that three. 

    While he seems to have made strides for improvement as a team player, Detroit was just too awful and he was injured too much to be considered for this award. The last time an awful team’s player was given this award was Monta Ellis. But the Warriors are always popular, despite their continual mediocrity.

    • Apr 27, 20123:46 pm
      by Max


      Shooting 33 percent from 3 is exactly as efficient as shooting 50 percent from the field even if more players are able to shoot above 33 percent from 3.  Do the simple math.  In 6 possessions, if you take 6 three points and hit 2 of them, you will have scored 6 points.   If you take 6 two points shots and hit three of them, you will also have scored 6 points.   More significant than the percentage though, Stuckey nearly double his career average in regards to attempts.
      BTW: I also apply this argument to mitigate the notion that players like Howard, Shaq, Wilt, Russell or even Duncan hurting their team by shooting terrible free throw percentages is overblown.   Hitting 50 percent of your free throws is once again like shooting 50 percent from the field since shooting 50 percent from the field adds up to one point per possession.   While scoring 1 point per possession probably leads to a mediocre team, the instance of a great player doing so when he goes to the line doesn’t hurt as much as people think.   Further, dominant players like Shaq get the other team in foul trouble and allow their own team’s defense to set which gives them a better chance on average to earn a stop than if they had scored by a field goal or not scored at all.  A good percentage of all NBA championships have been won in spite of a great big man shooting very poorly from the line.

      • Apr 27, 20125:36 pm
        by tarsier


        Although, you are much more likely to get free throws on a two point attempt. That is part of why 50% from 2 is better. I have no idea what the odds are of getting an oreb after a 3pt attempt or a 2pt attempt, but those would factor in as well. Obviously, though, it would be foolhardy to argue that Stuckey does a poor job of getting to the line.

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