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No longer burdened by expectations, is this the season Rodney Stuckey finally exceeds them?

I’ve never been much of a fan of Rodney Stuckey’s style of play and have always been relatively skeptical of the high regard the organization has held his talents since the time he arrived in the league. But I’ve also felt that those expectations of the organization have been unfair to Stuckey, who is at worst a rotation guard on any team in the league. The problem has always been the fact that the Pistons predestined him to be more than that.

In this week’s column for the Detroit Free Press, I admitted to some casual intrigue about whether Stuckey, seemingly forgotten on a suddenly deep roster, can thrive now that he has no expectations to live up to:

Now, in the final year of his contract, on a Pistons team that seems to be both moving on with young players such as Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and moving back with veterans such as Billups and Will Bynum, Stuckey has become a forgotten player, almost a nonfactor in projections of Detroit’s guard rotation. And maybe that’s OK — that might be a recipe for Stuckey to exceed expectations for the first time in his career.

Maurice Cheeks will be Stuckey’s fifth coach since he entered the league in 2007, but — at least according to his introductory news conference — Cheeks seems to be intrigued by Stuckey’s attributes. He wouldn’t be the first coach to see a strong, big, athletic guard and fall in love with the potential. But that’s the problem. Previous coaches have failed with Stuckey because they are too tantalized by the package of what he should be or could be instead of focusing on what he is. What he is is a player who should be motivated by playing for his next contract, who should be able to give minutes at both guard spots, depending on matchups, and who should be able to use the one proven skill in his repertoire —getting to the line — to his advantage on a Pistons second unit for which he could be a focal point of the offense.

Discussing Stuckey’s potential long ago became an act reserved only for the most positive of positive-thinking fans. Now that his tenure in Detroit could be nearing its end, as an overlooked player competing for a role on a suddenly deep team, he finally could be in a position to live up to realistic expectations.

47 Comments

  • Sep 16, 20134:31 pm
    by sloppy joe

    Reply

    I would bet my life’s savings that if there are any expectations left for stuckey, he will miserably fail to live up to them.  

    • Sep 16, 20135:29 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      He’s been a solid rotation player his entire career. He is way overpaid and shouldn’t be a starter, but he could be a significant contributor on at least 20 teams in this league.

      • Sep 16, 20138:59 pm
        by sloppy joe

        Reply

        Yeah I agree, I have been the biggest stuckey dick rider of all of us.  Sure he can contribute inconsistent minutes in the roto but every year his expectation is to come out and take over a gaurd spot in the starting lineup.  I think a change of scenery is long overdue, though i will miss playing with him in NBA 2K games.

        • Sep 18, 201312:26 pm
          by Blocks by Dre

          Reply

           I have been the biggest stuckey dick rider of all of us.

          Hence, where the name Sloppy Joe came from?

        • Sep 18, 201312:29 pm
          by Blocks by Dre

          Reply

          Joking aside, I too have been a huge fan of Stuckey’s game and thought he would finally show his potential just a few seasons back but it never happened. I don’t dislike Stuckey like most do, but I am starting to come to the conclusion that he is what he is at this point

      • Sep 18, 20137:01 am
        by swish22

        Reply

        By far the biggest disappointment on the roster for me.   I don’t understand why he is still on this roster.    After his absolutely pathetic start to last season when almost every voice on this blog said he was in the best shape of his life and ready for a breakthrough season he graded out I would argue as possibly the WORST player playing big minutes In the NBA the first fifteen games last season.  Others took the blame and are no longer here.  Rodney Stuckey should have been #1 on the bus out of Detroit.  A cancer on this roster is what I see.   IF it walks like a duck and talks like a duck its most likely a duck!   I only wish we could send him back to Oregon where Ducks belong!

        • Sep 18, 201311:23 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          Hes on the roster because he is under contract and if you look at his career as a whole it is obvious he is at least capable of contributing so buying him out for a stupid amount of money just so angry fans can feel good about him being gone makes zero sense.  If you are wondering why he isn’t traded then I think you should ask yourself why any other team would give up assets for him when you find him to be such a cancer to a team.  Hes overpaid and anyone that thinks he has a chance to succeed with new scenery could just wait for his contract to run out and get him on the cheap next year.

  • Sep 16, 20137:19 pm
    by jeff m

    Reply

    I hope after this year I’ll have to never hear the name Stuckey as a Piston again. I currently worried that some how Stuckey will manufacture a false great season and con Dumars into giving him another contract.

  • Sep 16, 20138:53 pm
    by Ozzie-Moto

    Reply

    Just done with the guy  … best of luck but please somewhere else …  time for newer blood .

  • Sep 16, 20139:27 pm
    by Ryan B.

    Reply

    If the expectation is that he helps the team more than he hurts it, I don’t see him meeting the goal.

  • Sep 16, 201310:45 pm
    by sebastian

    Reply

    You Stuckey-haters will live to eat your words. Stuckey will prove to be a significant part of OUR Pistons success, during the ’13-’14 season.
    Stuckey will win the MIP (Most Improve Player) Award, during the upcoming season. Book it!

    • Sep 17, 20137:51 am
      by KaBa

      Reply

      Yeah, he is going to average 40ppg, 20apg and 10spg. For sure. You just have to believe it! Please don’t forget to pray for it.

      • Sep 17, 20139:51 am
        by sebastian

        Reply

        No KaBa, more like 17 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.2 rbs, .9 spg., and 86% from the line, as the 6th-man (first guard off the bench).

        • Sep 17, 201311:15 am
          by gmehl

          Reply

          Notice how he didn’t say first ‘shooting guard’ off the bench. Stuckey couldn’t shoot someone standing in front of him if he was holding an uzi. His time is up and the years are now becoming months and then days until he is gone. To me he will always be remembered as the new blood that came in after the going to work pistons.

        • Sep 17, 201311:51 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          It’s pretty hard to imagine Stuckey getting enough shots to put up 17 ppg given his teammates on the Pistons this season.

    • Sep 17, 20139:01 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I hope you’re placing that bet at Vegas. Because if you’re so confident, well, let’s just say the odds are REAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY long.

  • Sep 17, 201312:31 am
    by Max

    Reply

    I think Stuckey can have a great season.  He hasn’t played with so many passers and players who draw attention to themselves since he was a rookie and that was the year that made it appear he could be a star when he had that great series against the Celtics.  

    • Sep 17, 20139:07 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      In his “great series against the Celtics”, Stuckey averaged:

      9.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.2 topg, 39/20/80 in 23 mpg.

      The steal and turnover numbers are really good. But I wouldn’t call that the highlight of his career.

      • Sep 17, 20132:35 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        He had games where he took over completely and the Pistons were isolating him on one side of the floor and he was going to town.  Paul Pierce even said after the series that he was the Pistons most unstoppable player.  His role wasn’t consistent enough throughout the series to put up big numbers overall but once the Pistons realized he could dominate and started running plays for him he played great.  

        • Sep 17, 20132:37 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Also, if I remember right, his coming out party coincided with Billups going down which opened things up for him.   

        • Sep 17, 20134:33 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I’m not saying he didn’t make the most of his opportunity. But I also don’t care what Pierce said. Pierce is an expert NBA player, not an expert analyst.

          Stuckey was only noteworthy in that series because he had done nothing to that point. So expectations were “through the floor” for lack of a better term. It was exciting that he looked like he might be a starting caliber player.

          • Sep 17, 20139:17 pm
            by Max

            He looked like he might be a star.   He was dominant in a pressure filled playoff atmosphere and Pierce was admitting that he was the most difficult player for his great defensive team to stop.   And it’s not as if Stuckey hasn’t seemed like a star since.   He once closed out a season by averaging about 25 for the month and it included a game where he convincingly out dueled Kobe during a close game when they were going back and forth at each other.   He was also arguably the Pistons best player for a few seasons.   He’s taken a back step the past two seasons because Brandon Knight was drafted and Stuckey was often put in the worst positions possible in terms of his skill set and all to allow Knight to grow.      

          • Sep 19, 201311:53 am
            by tarsier

            Maybe he looked that way to you. In my opinion, he never flashed any star potential until the following season. Not that it matters, since he never came close anyway.

          • Sep 19, 20131:43 pm
            by Max

            He looked that way to a lot of people and it sure looks like Dumars and Ainge were believers with the trades they made, offered and turned down.  Whether you remember or not, the buzz on Stuckey was huge during the summer after his rookie season.   I certainly wasn’t singular in thinking he looked like a star and probably wasn’t even in the strict minority of less than 50 percent.  

          • Sep 19, 20133:56 pm
            by tarsier

            Perhaps not, but I’m confused about why. I just spat out his stats of his most “breaking out” performance of his rookie year. They weren’t very impressive.

          • Sep 20, 20132:25 pm
            by Max

            BTW Tarsier  You said Pierce is an expert NBA player and not an expert analyst.  Well, I just wanted to point out that the NBA did a much better job of picking MVPs when the players did the voting.  

          • Sep 20, 20132:27 pm
            by Max

            Go back and watch the games.  Don’t rely so much on stats.  There is such a thing as context.    

          • Sep 20, 20133:27 pm
            by tarsier

            I agree that the game is a lot more than stats. Stats are just the easiest things to measure and compare. And since the stats very clearly did not indicate star potential, I’d like to throw the onus back on you to point out what about his play did show star potential.

            Also, you may think players did a better job of selecting MVPs. But that is certainly not an established fact. They gave Russel the MVP over Wilt (who averaged better than 50 ppg) and Oscar (who averaged over 30, 10, and 10). 

          • Sep 20, 20135:27 pm
            by Max

            Your example is a great for showing why the players picked better MVPs.  Russell was winning the championship every year and Wilt and Oscar put up big numbers.   Big whoop.  Also, it’s not like Russell’s numbers weren’t phenomenal.    All I know is that there were never any travesty MVPs like Rose, Nowitski, Nash, Malone, Robinson and Barkley when the players had the vote.  These players were never even close to better than LBJ, Bryant, Durant, Shaq, Duncan, Olajuwon or Jordan during the years they won.  That collection of terribly undeserving MVP selections along with the poor job over the last 20 years or so of picking the other awards and team selections has made me kind of not credit the writers as being able to competently vote for these things. 

          • Sep 20, 20135:39 pm
            by Max

            As to your question about Stuckey.  The indication that he could be a star was that at a certain point in he series, the Pistons started running clear outs with four players on one side of the floor and Stuckey operating alone on the other and the Celtics, who were the best defensive team in the league in my opinion, had a very difficult time dealing with it and it changed the momentum for a time.  Also, Stuckey took care of the ball incredibly well in that pressure filled situation which made him seem like he had preternatural poise–taking care of the ball is still the best and most underrated part of his game although I’d say it’s the most underrated aspect of basketball in general.   One more thing is that Stuckey was able to use his size to bully people which is something he still does better than most guards but it’s easy to get too optimistic about a rookie guard who can bully most of his opponents.   I would also say that pretty much every point guard who is 6’5 or above gets tagged with the potential star label early because it is just so rare for players of that size to be able to handle the ball well enough to hold down that spot and if they can, it’s so easy to imagine them dominating most players at the position due to their size.               

          • Sep 20, 20135:48 pm
            by Max

            One more point.   When Stuckey was inserted into the starting lineup due to Billups going down something happened that I believe made myself and a lot of Pistons fans and management think Stuckey was the answer.   For years, the Pistons had been great but had been criticized for being too predictable and not having anyone who could break down defenses by driving the ball.   Suddenly, Stuckey was doing these things and it was if he was the answer to fill the void of what the team had lacked.    

            This was one reason why I was extremely angry when Dumars shipped out Billups for Iverson with part of the reasoning being that Iverson could fill that role by being the driving force and making the team less predictable.   My thought at the time was the team already had that guy in Stuckey and he could be be the x-factor so there was no need for Iverson while the team still needed the skills Billups had that wouldn’t be replaced by Iverson.   

  • Sep 17, 201311:09 am
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    To me Stuckey is just like Maxiell was last year.  He may have good games every now and then, but he just doesn’t fit with the direction of the team.

    His two biggest attributes to the team were his ability to get the the rim and shoot free throws.  The last couple of years, he has stopped going to the rim as much and in turn hasn’t been going to the line as opten.  His court vission doesn’t seem very good either, because he seems like he spends all day dribbling the ball trying to find an open player and the jacks up a bad shot.

    He may fit in and play well for another team, but I think it’s time the Pistons to cut their ties with him.  Hopefull CV too.

    • Sep 17, 201311:19 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Screw cutting ties with them. I say we wait out there contracts with the 1% chance a team bites for them in a trade. After watching how sh1t they were for the last 5-6 years I at least want there deals rot expire. I mean what’s 1 more season.

      • Sep 17, 201311:37 am
        by MIKEYDE248

        Reply

        I’m not saying that they should just let them go, but I would love to see them traded.  I just don’t want to see either of them logging big minutes to showcase them, while we see other players more deserving of minutes sitting on the bench.

        • Sep 17, 201312:07 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Agreed. Showcasing players you want to trade makes total sense in a lost season in which you aren’t competing for anything (like the last 3 years). Now the Pistons should actually be making a playoff push.

          Play Stuckey and CV to the extent that they help the team win, but favor guys who will be around longer. 

  • Sep 17, 20132:20 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    You guys are really harsh on stuckey, yes he has not been as productive as many of us thought.  That does not make him a scrub, but with that being said his talents are better suited for another team.

    • Sep 17, 20133:45 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      I agree with the harsh part but not that his talents are necessarily better suited to another team.   He can be a great 6th man and doesn’t have to play much with the starting front line so he can play with shooters.   I’ve said it before but just because Stuckey failed to as the face of the franchise doesn’t mean he can’t be a great 5th to 7th rotation player and he’s no longer any higher than that in the rotation.  

      • Sep 18, 201311:49 am
        by Huddy

        Reply

        He is paid too much to be a good 6th man.  If the starting rotation works the way A lot of people assume it will then 1 of Smith/Monroe will remain on the floor most of the game so its likely Stuckey isn’t even the main feature on the second squad.  If he plays well I would worry the Pistons will over pay him again to be a rotation guy when solid play might make him an attractive trade target.

  • Sep 17, 20133:40 pm
    by Some Dude

    Reply

    The thing is, if we hold on to Stuckey and CV until next offseason. Their contracts are off the book giving us more cap room to resign Monroe and more free agents. But if they get traded during the season, depending on the type of contract coming in. They may not have the cap room to resign Monroe. So it seems to be a little tricky.

    • Sep 17, 20134:36 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      The Pistons will have Monroe’s bird rights. They can re-sign him either way. The tricky part about cap space would be all about trying to get another very good player.

  • Sep 18, 20139:42 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    I’m not sure he’s a rotation guard anywhere in the league…he’d be a fourth guard some places, but I think the top handful of squads wouldn’t have a place for him.

    His inability to hit threes is critical. If he’s not getting to the line, he’s close to worthless.

    • Sep 18, 20138:59 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      What nonsense.   He takes care of the ball extremely well and put up decent assists for years without good scorers around him.   Among all combo guards, he can defend either position without giving up size better than nearly all of them and can even play small forward where he has guarded LBJ for stretches.   He also doesn’t have a total inability to hit 3s.  It’s been coming slowly and he might not get better but he is coming off his two best 3 point shooting years and his percentage was low but acceptable and he was starting to get it together in 2012.  He does have a midrange game and not many do.  Also, he does get to the line so I don’t know why you are bringing up, “if he doesn’t get to the line.”   Finally, his size causes match-up issues for other teams.  He’d find minutes on any team in the league.  Tell me who would not be playing him.   You are way underrating him.   

      • Sep 19, 201311:57 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        To be fair, it’s possible that New Orleans wouldn’t play him.  Holiday, Gordon, and Evans are all better. And that doesn’t leave a lot of backcourt minutes.

        • Sep 19, 20131:38 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Stuckey would at least get some minutes on the only team in the league he’d be as low as the fourth guard if everyone is healthy and let’s not forget that Gordon can’t stay on the court.   I doubt they even would have signed Evans if they thought they could trust that Gordon will play.  

          • Sep 19, 20134:01 pm
            by tarsier

            Sure I just thought I’d give the hardest rotation to crack I could think of. Though it may actually be the Nets (because of the ability to play SF you pointed out).

            Stuckey would certainly be behind Williams and Johnson. It’s about 50/50 whether he’d be behind or ahead of Terry. Pierce, Kirilenko and Johnson should eat up all the SF minutes too.

          • Sep 20, 20132:42 pm
            by Max

            Just my opinion but from what I saw last year–Terry is washed up.  

        • Sep 19, 20131:39 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          And Stuckey and Evans can play small forward and are better than their options there so I’m sure Stuckey would steadily find his way onto the court.

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