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Rodney Stuckey hopes you don’t find him selfish

David Mayo of MLive:

He began the season as the starting shooting guard, went to the bench of his own volition, has spent much of his season standing in the corner away from the focus of halfcourt offensive sets, and openly has questioned how he has been used.

Asked if he thinks people might interpret that as self-centeredness, Stuckey replied, "I hope not."

"I’m not trying to be like, ‘Oh, I need to do this, I need to do that.’ I just know being aggressive, attacking the basket, attacking the hoop is my game," Stuckey said after Wednesday’s 105-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors. "In order to do that, I’m going to need the ball a little bit more in my hands in order to create for myself and my teammates."

"I’m not a selfish player at all," he said. "I’m always a team player. Just having the ball in my hand and creating for my teammates, that’s what I do."

On one hand, I empathize with Stuckey. Because the Pistons want to test Brandon Knight, they’ve had Stuckey operating outside his comfort zone.

Last season, Stuckey and Knight split point-guard duties while sharing the backcourt. Often, Stuckey handled the ball while Knight had easier off-the-ball assignments during difficult situations.

That worked OK, but the combination had little hope of blossoming into a contending backcourt. It’s very unlikely Stuckey is a starting guard the next time the Pistons win a playoff series, but the same can’t be said of Knight. Knight hasn’t secured a long-term starting spot, either, though, so the Pistons have wisely put the ball in his hands more often. Even though the Pistons’ on-court chemistry probably took a step back with Stuckey relegated, Detroit is learning a lot more about Knight, and that makes the change worthwhile.

Because Knight has the ball more than last year, that has given Stuckey fewer opportunity to do what he does best: attack the rim and draw fouls. His free-throw attempts per minute are his lowest since his first season as a starter (2008-09), and he’s already taken a career-high 147 3-pointers (despite shooting 27 percent from beyond the arc).

But that’s not the whole story.

There’s a perception Stuckey, at Lawrence Frank’s direction, has been stuck spotting up in the corner all season. But Stuckey has taken more than twice as many above-the-break 3s (98) as corner 3s (43), and those numbers don’t count Stuckey’s backcourt attempts – for him, a significant number. I see a player who must accept some blame for taking more 3-pointers than he should.

The Pistons haven’t done what’s best for Stuckey this season, but catering to Stuckey is not in the franchise’s best interest. I understand why that would bother Stuckey, but he could have handled the situation better. He’s rarely played with passion this season, and his minutes are often uneventful at best.

Both sides deserve blame. I don’t find Stuckey selfish. I also don’t believe he’s done enough to make an admittedly difficult situation work.

15 Comments

  • Mar 21, 201311:02 am
    by Tiko

    Reply

    He needs to he bought out or traded for nothing but roster and cap space. 

  • Mar 21, 201311:56 am
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    I don’t see him as selfish at all.  He did what was best for the team by asking to come off the bench.  I just don’t think he has very good court vision.  Once the ball finds it’s way into his hands, it seems like his only option is to shoot it.

  • Mar 21, 201312:14 pm
    by Derek AKA Redeemed

    Reply

    Who cares at this point?  Stuckey isn’t in the plans going forward.  He hasn’t been productive after one of his best offseasons as a professional.  We are 6 years in on a player who hasn’t been able to be productive for anything that resembles a consistent basis.

    The only thing I want for Stuckey is to find his way off of our roster. 

    The only way he can be productive is to be ball dominant?  That’s a load of bunk!  He doesn’t understand the game well enough to move well without the ball? 

    When I watch the games it looks like he plays detached from the team until it suits his purposes.  We aren’t going to make the playoffs.  He isn’t a part of our future plans.  So why are we playing him so many minutes right now?  Give Khris & Kim significant minutes.  Give those guys a chance to prove themselves.

  • Mar 21, 201312:57 pm
    by Huddy

    Reply

    He isn’t wrong about being better with the ball in his hands its just that his production when he was given that ball dominance isn’t worth it.  You can’t let a player dominate the ball and be a 15 and 5 guard, that is simply not worth taking time from other guys.  Article is exactly right to point out that it is more important for to see where BK is going than continue to set the team up to not get any better so that Stuckey can score 15 a night.  You can get 15 a night from a solid outside shooter that you don’t have to pay 8 mil a year, and that would allow everyone else on the team to play the way they need to.  I think Stuckey may have a future somewhere else, probably as a spark plug scoring off the bench, but he doesn’t fill a need here.

  • Mar 21, 20131:20 pm
    by Shawn

    Reply

    Stuckey’s real problem is that we don’t have the personnel that compliments his game.  We need better more consistent outside shooters.  Even Laurence Frank seems to have trouble figuring out this roster.  Stuckey’s game also is still not mature.  He needs to develop that outside shot but for some reason can’t nail it enough to force opposing teams to respect it. With that said he is fairly quick with good foot speed, has good size and is our best defender (open to debate).  So, I wouldn’t just cut him.  There are plenty of teams that would be interested in him and while I doubt that he will ever turn the corner and realize his true potential he may still demonstrate proficiency coming off the bench in the future. We should hold onto him and wait for the right deal or for him to mature (doubtful) and if we can get a better guard like Ben Mclemore in the draft then scoop him up but keep Stuckey as a third guard or as trade fodder.
     

  • Mar 21, 20132:03 pm
    by GEORGIO

    Reply

    Stuckey was just fine coming off the bench as the backup point guard and he was doing well in that role until he got injured. When he came back Frank had him as the backup 2 with Will as the backup 1. Stuckey should be the backup PG, it is where his advantages in size and quickness lie, not at the 2 or the 3 where his size is actually a disadvantage. Put players in spots where they can be most effective not where all their flaws can be exposed. If Stuckey as the backup PG could give you 15 and 5, that would be fantastic and I think he could. As far as his salary is concerned, when this contract is up you pay comensurate to being the backup PG, if he can get a better deal then let him go. I think Frank and JD need to find a way to make the Stuckey situation work for both parties.

    • Mar 21, 20132:46 pm
      by Huddy

      Reply

      There is no way Stuckey averages 15 and 5 off the bench at pg.  He has only ever averaged 15 and 5 starting getting over 30 min a game, how could he solely back up the PG position and average that not to mention the fact that he doesn’t finish at the rim at a good percentage, so he isn’t getting 15 and 5 efficiently.  He would have to at least play some SG to get enough minutes off the bench to have that kind of impact and he can’t shoot the long ball, which simply isn’t what we need on a team with a good front court (next year).  To keep him on just as a back up makes no sense especially since he would be making about as much as our starting PG will be making if we resign Jose.

  • Mar 21, 20133:35 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    this just sounds like another instance of blaming the player for the inability or refusal of the team to recognize a player’s strong points and play to those, rather than putting him in a position where he is likely to fail.
    how many times do pistons’ fans have to see this happen before they place the blame squarely and exclusively where it belongs: at the doorstep of the gm and the coach.
    stuckey is what he is: a player who needs the ball to be successful.  he’s been basically the same player since he’s been a piston.  the best teams know their players and use them in positions where they can succeed.  
    bad teams – and the pistons certainly qualify as that now – take guys and constantly try to force them into unfamiliar roles and then hope that they can adjust and then prosper.
    we are seeing the same thing with a guy like JJ.  rather than put him in a position where he could dominate – as a small forward who got his points on garbage right at the rim and on hustle and cutting – someone in the organization decided that JJ would be a stretch 4.  and now we see the ridiculous sight of a bad 3 point shooting big spotting up at the 3 point line.  instead of scrapping around the basket, as he does so well. kenneth faried woiuld probably be riding the bench here, as the team would have no idea how to use a guy like him.
    knignt as ball-dominant point guard?  nothing more needs to be said.
    maxiell?  only an idiot would imagine that max could be a 30 a night starter on a playoff team.  he is a very good energy big man off the bench who can give you a good 20 minutes when matched up against the right opponents.  but a consistent, steady starter?
    when stuckey started the season off standing in the corner, hoisting 3 pointers, it was obvious that something was very wrong.
    unfortunately, that type of thing has happened far too often the last 5 years or so. 

    • Mar 21, 20133:55 pm
      by Steve K

      Reply

      Lord knows I agree that mistakes were made with many players, but I don’t believe Stuckey was one of them. Stuckey has had ample opportunity to show his stuff as the point, the off-guard, some hybrid combo guard, and a point, off-guard, combo off the bench. He showed flashes of awesomeness followed by long stretches of bleh.
       
      To address the point of him being selfish… no I don’t think that’s the case. He’s often been the Pistons’ best passer (for what that’s worth). He’s proven himself to be a pretty serviceable NBA player. In many ways, he’s about as average as it gets. For the Pistons to improve, though, they don’t need to be spending $8.5M for a player of his caliber.
       
      His skills just haven’t translated into wins. And I don’t blame the organization for that.
       
      As for Afflalo, Delfino, and even Darko, that’s another story.

      • Mar 21, 20135:09 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        disagree on stuckey.  when the team finally moved away from trying to force him into being a point guard, he had his best years.  2010-11 and 2011-12 were his best years and the numbers confirm it.  that  first year – 10-11 – mcgrady ran the offense for long stretches and tay also ran it from a point forward spot.  someone had finally realized that stuckey’s best role was as a scorer who didn’t have to think about being a team’s primary distributor.  last year, that change in roles was solidified as the team handed the ball to knight and said you’re now the point guard.  imho, the combination of stuckey and knight worked well, because stuckey often acted as the point guard, though he often let knight play that role.  stuckey is an excellent ballhandler who can withstand lots of defensive pressure because of his handle and his size and strength.  
        he had a solid year last year and this fan thought he’d finally found his niche, as a combo guard playing along another combo guard who often needed help with ball security.
        i have no idea which genius came to the conclusion that knight needed to be ball-dominant, with stuckey spotting up for threes, but that is what happened at the beginning of the year and it had ruinous impact on stuckey.  he started the season in a horrendous slump and only came out of it when he was able to move to the second unit.
        again, the numbers back this up.
        now, i agree that the team doesn’t need stuckey, with bynum on the team and probably available next year at half the salary.  he is truly a fifth wheel at this point.  however, as often happens with this team, instead of maintaing a player’s value and then moving him while he has very good market value, joe d has allowed stuckey’s value to hit a very low point and will now probably look at moving him.
        joe has done this time after time after time, rarely moving a player while that player is at the top of his value, even though he could immediately replace him – eg, refusing to trade tay to dallas a couple of years ago – and my guess is that the same dynamic will play out with stuckey.  he’ll probably trade him for far less than he would have gotten for him say a year or so ago, and another solid asset will have been dumped for little or nothing.

        • Mar 22, 20137:23 am
          by sebastian

          Reply

          When you draft lemons with the 15th Pick in the 2007 NBA Draft you turn that pick into lemonade.
          “frankie d.” is spot on about Stuckey. He has value and he can be used much more economically and accurately. Stuckey’s job description should be to be the first guard off of the bench; running the offense, driving and finishing with “And-1′s” or making free throws; or kicking to shooters. Hell, Stuckey can play the same role as Jarret Jack has played, successfully, this season with the Warriors.
          One thing about a guy like Stuckey, who can get to the line – 1) he allows the team to make points while the clock is not ticking, 2) he gets the opposing team in the penalty early (which is the secret to getting back into NBA games, when the team is down); and 3) he allows for OUR defense to get set-up better and not have to defend against transition offense, so much.
          Every team needs a weapon, like Stuckey could be with the right coaching and team structure in place.
          To have had Stuckey come off the bench a play the “Jarret Jack Role”, stupid azz L. Frank would have had to be smart enough have started English.
          Joe should keep Stuckey and have him come off the bench as the 6th-man and then move B. Knight over to play the “Step Curry Role”.
          Damn, a circus monkey can coach better than L. Frank!

    • Mar 21, 20133:58 pm
      by Huddy

      Reply

      Stuckey needs the ball to be individually successful for his stats, but he is not a good finisher or great passer so starting him at PG doesn’t benefit the team.  Paying him 8 mil to be a back up PG doesn’t make sense either…he needs to go.  He has been used in unfortunate ways this season, mostly because of prioritizing BK and Jose who are better fits for the team, so the mistakes in Stuckey’s role are probably closer related to that than they are to understanding where he plays better individually.
       
      JJ wouldn’t dominate at any position on any team and is taking the same number of 3s this season as his other seasons regardless of position.
       
      Brandon Knight was a PG in college was given that chance here and has been moved to a position he is playing better in.  He is a combo guard and is small for a SG it is not odd at all that the team has tried him at both PG and SG, but he is where he belongs now.
       
      Drummond clearly should start over Maxiell, an argument could be made for at least beginning the season with Drummond off the bench until we saw what he could do, but obviously it went far beyond that and was a bad move.
       
      We don’t have a starting caliber SF on the entire roster, we have 1 quality true center, 1 quality SG that recently emerged as a SG…we are lacking quality players and that causes a lot of guys to be tested in different areas.  Starting JJ at SF doesn’t make him good, benching Calderon for Stuckey isn’t the right choice and given injuries we would be starting someone bad/out of position at center and SG now either way. 

  • Mar 21, 20135:20 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    JJ wouldn’t dominate at any position on any team and is taking the same number of 3s this season as his other seasons regardless of position. not true.
    the numbers are clear.
    his first year, per 36 minutes, JJ took .6 3 pointers per game.
    last year, that creeped up to .8.  this year it is up to 1 per game.   almost twice as many, compared to his first season.
    imho, guys like JJ or stuckey or josh smith or kenneth faried, guys who are extremely good going to the hoop or scrambling near the hoop, should only shoot 3 pointers as a desperation shot in extraordinary circumstances.  jj should never be spotting up, looking to hoist up 3′s …ever. 

    • Mar 22, 201311:00 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      The difference between .6 3 pointers and 1 3 pointers is less than half of a shot a game…is that really some huge change that is changing his game?  Who is forcing those guys to shoot 3′s?  that makes zero sense.  Josh Smith is at the PF position and chooses to hoist 3s, Kenneth Faried does not and both of those guys are much better players than Jerebko who wouldn’t be an impact player at either position.  The article clearly points out that despite all the complaints of Stuckey having to sit in the corner and shoots 3s is wrong because in reality he has taken many more from the top of the key as opposed to driving, which is his choice.  I agree that not putting the ball in his hands will lower his production, but that doesn’t mean he has to force bad shots.  Its as if people think professional athletes have no individual decision making power.  The coach may draw up the play, but players choose when to shoot or pass or drive.  Its just like Football, the coach draws up the play and the quarter back chooses who to throw it to or to tuck and run, If he throws into triple coverage the player takes some responsibility for making a bad choice. 

      • Mar 22, 20135:36 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        so….let me get this straight…the coach designs the offense so that a player is supposed to be available in the corner to shoot the corner 3 if that shot is open.
        the player does what the coach tells him to do.
        he gets the ball in the corner, with that corner 3 shot available, and he is supposed to pass up the shot the play is designed to produce and do something else?
        that, essentially, is your argument.
        talk about not making any sense.
        my guess is that the coach would quickly sub in  a player who would run the offense the way he’d designed it.
        yes, that shot is a bad shot for stuckey.
        no, he should not be taking that shot.
        but the responsible party is the coach who designs an offense that puts a player like stuckey in that position.  it is not the player who simply executes what the coach has designed.
        imho, stuckey was put in a position where, yes, he was set up to take the corner 3, but he was also set up to take long two’s or threes from any number of places on the court.  no question that, at times, he made an executive decision and hoisted some of those shots by his own choice, but his role in the offense was to do exactly that.  his job was to spot up, and shoot the ball.
        and if anyone had watched stuckey play for a number of years they would realize that was an exceedingly dumb role for a coach to want stuckey to play.
        regarding JJ…when  you are not taking very many shots per game – and JJ is taking only 6 per game – any increase of that sort has to be significant.  and he is not playing the same game.  he is spending a lot more time away from the hoop.  i’d love to see a shot chart detailing his shots his rookie year and his shots this year.  i’d be willing to bet that the fact that he is shooting from areas further away from the basket would account for the large drop in his shooting percentages.
         

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