Rodney Stuckey and the Detroit Pistons have had an interesting ride the past six seasons. After a promising first few years in Mo-town, Stuckey was awarded an egregious 3-year, $25 million deal, leaving many shaking their heads. It seemed as if Joe Dumars was handing over the franchises’ keys to the young combo guard when he clearly wasn’t ready for it.
And he wasn’t.
Since signing the contract, Stuckey hasn’t lived up to expectations. After starting the majority of games early in his career, this past season Stuckey spent most of his time coming off the Pistons bench.
No player who makes $8.5 million a year should be coming off your bench.
But, to be fair, Stuckey hasn’t had any stability. Stuckey is already on his fourth new head coach and has been a pawn in a slew of different line-up changes over the past six seasons. It’s hard for any young player to find their game when the pieces around him are constantly changing.
Although Stuckey has underachieved as a Piston, it helps that he has the graces of his new head coach Maurice Cheeks and recently reacquired Chauncey Billups. Both have praised his game but also believe he has much more to offer. It’s possible that the two best things that can happen to Stuckey’s career are both Cheeks and Billups. Cheeks is known for his ability to deal with guards, formerly being one himself, and help groom them to reach their potential. Billups will give Stuckey a veteran voice and leader he can look to for advice and additional coaching, something he has sincerely lacked since becoming a Piston.
At the end of the day, Stuckey is a solid combo guard and a valuable commodity to any NBA franchise. Is he worth the $8.5 million he’s making in Detroit? Absolutely not, but Stuckey can still be a major difference maker on a revamped Pistons roster.
So, how should Stuckey be used this upcoming season?
Stuckey would be best suited as the teams sixth-man or second guard off the bench. If Stuckey were to start alongside the young Brandon Knight or rugged veteran Chauncey Billups he’d have to show the ability to shoot his jumper at a higher percentage. Stuckey hasn’t shot better than 44 percent from the field in his career and to make things worse he has never shot better than an abysmal 31 percent from long distance.
The one distinctive ability Stuckey has in his arsenal that will prove to be vital is his ability to get to the rim. Stuckey’s speed and quickness has allowed him to make a living getting fouled (good free-throw shooter at a career 83 percent) and penetrating and kicking to open teammates on the perimeter. If Stuckey can give the Pistons this facet of his game on a consistent basis then he’s a guy that’s worth keeping around this upcoming season.
If not, the Pistons’ brass should be on the phone because there are a lot of teams out there that will be interested in Stuckey’s services.
Do you think Rodney Stuckey will make it through the entire season in Detroit? If so, how would you use him?