Appreciating Rodney Stuckey's ability to get to the line

Over the weekend, I happened across this comment from one of the brain dead twitter troglodytes who get weird satisfaction out of trolling Vincent Goodwill. This person was lamenting the fact that Rodney Stuckey‘s “only” talent is drawing contact, as if that is not a vital and rare skill in the NBA. Thankfully, Rob Mahoney of Court Vision is around to sing the praises of Stuckey’s free throw attempts:

The one thing Stuckey does at any remarkable level is an unspectacular basketball act that few fans fawn over or feel any aesthetic connection to whatsoever: getting to the free-throw line. The Pistons put on a hell of a show on Sunday night in their overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls, largely because Stuckey was a man put on this planet to create contact and draw fouls.

That ability to create easy points at the charity stripe is surely appreciated, but hardly resonant; the free throw is the lull in the action, and no one mistakes it for anything but. Yet in high enough frequency, those lulls begin to matter a great deal. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Stuckey has posted a greater per-minute free-throw-attempting frequency this season than all but four NBA players.

Stuckey is far from a specialist, but he nonetheless carves out value through a very specific excellence. That he happens to excel in one of the game’s most boring arenas should certainly matter, but perhaps less than it does; isn’t there some beauty in production for production’s sake, no matter the aesthetic emptiness?

Dan Feldman (via NBA.com/stats) also noted that pace adjusted, Stuckey jumps to third on that per-minute list — past Kevin Love and LeBron James.

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