Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014 Season Review: Rodney Stuckey

Rodney Stuckey has been unfortunate enough to be around for the duration of the downswing of the Detroit Pistons.  After being taken 15th overall in 2007, Stuckey tasted the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, making an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2008 and getting swept by the Cavaliers the next year.  This would be the high point of Stuckey's career in a Pistons uniform as the franchise was sold in the following years and hasn't sniffed the playoffs since.  The Pistons went 238-336 (.316) in Stuckey's run with the team, a winning percentage that would be much worse if he had come on a year later.  Stuckey was a lightning rod for criticism in his tenure in Detroit.  Some times it was well-deserved (issues with numerous coaches come to mind), and others it wasn't (his play is often ridiculed, but for the most part was at least average).  His career in Detroit appears to finally be over, as he is an Unrestricted Free Agent this offseason and hardly fits in Stan Van Gundy's offensive philosophy.

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14.0 13.9 51.6% 45.0% 27.3% 4.7% 12.7% 11.3%

In what's looking like his final year as a Piston, Stuckey played less minutes per game than he had in any season other than his rookie year, and played as little PG as he had in any year other than 2011-12 (according to Basketball-Reference).  He produced a below-average PER, a TS% slightly above his career average, and easily the lowest AST% of his career.  A part of Stuckey's decrease in play-making can certainly be attributed to playing off the ball more, but the other part of that is Stuckey looking to score more.  My guess is that this was motivated by his impending free agency, but obviously things like that are hard to prove without Stuckey saying so.  On the side of my argument is the fact that he scored 18.7 Pts/36, nearly a full two points above his career average, and maintained a normal Usage Rate, despite assisting on less plays.  Stuckey was in attack mode most of the season, which is something that probably benefits him, as its long been obvious he just isn't a combo guard.
If you've seen more than a handful of Rodney Stuckey games, you would expect to see a chart that looks like this, with the exception of two green three point zones.  Someone who hasn't seen Stuckey play a whole lot may think he's a good finisher at the rim with his bulk and ball-handling, but that's simply not the case.  His lack of verticality hurts him at the rim, and usually ends with more FTs than dunks and nice finishes over/around defenders.  His positive marks from the top of the key and the right corner are flukes, as he's merely a career 28.6% three-point shooter, and shoots an ugly 26.7% from the corners since entering the NBA.  That's not good.  Also of note, 0/10 from the left wing!  This is an NBA Shooting Guard everybody!  Not to mention one that the Pistons have started in 265 games over the past seven seasons.  It was nice having Rodney's offense coming off of the bench last year, especially when the team as a whole was struggling.  However, his overall output shouldn't be hard to replace or improve upon, especially for what the Pistons are trying to do under Stan Van Gundy.  



"Carlos, how do you respond to the allegations that Rodney ate your lunch here?":


2014-15 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

The last time Rodney Stuckey was a free agent, my opinion was that Joe Dumars should just let him walk. Instead, after the lockout was lifted, Dumars rewarded Stuckey with a three year, $25 million dollar deal.  This wasn't the worst deal Dumars handed out in his tenure, but it wasn't one of his few good ones either.  When the time came this year to possibly take advantage of Stuckey's expiring deal, he was kept beyond the trade deadline.  With nothing but six fruitless seasons in Stuckey's seven year tenure, it's hard to see how a player of such average skill level stuck around as long as he did.  That being said, somebody out there will like his game enough to pick him up at a decent price for two or three years.  OJ Mayo got $5M per season last offseason, and I would expect Stuckey to get something in the same ballpark.  My guess is that teams such as the Kings, Grizzlies, Jazz and Hawks will at least kick the tires on Stuckey.  Perhaps the Pacers could be a dark-horse candidate to sign him if Lance Stephenson goes elsewhere.  The SG market is very thin this offseason, with Lance Stephenson as the top candidate, and then a bunch of guys similar to Stuckey's talent level behind him.  Good luck and success to him in his next landing spot, against everybody except the Pistons.


Follow Six Championship Drive on Twitter, @Kevin6CD.  Seriously, do it.  You're just a click away from experiencing me making fun of the Pacers!  I may or may not stop now that they're out of the playoffs.  Spoiler alert: I wont.

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