What is the No. 1 thing Rodney Stuckey can do to step up and help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Don’t tempt Maurice Cheeks to start him
The Pistons need a starting off guard who can shoot from the perimeter. The spacing issues presented by a Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond frontline are real, and a slashing guard like Stuckey would create even more problems for himself and the frontcourt.
Stuckey can be a good defender and good player, but Stuckey shouldn’t start, even if he’s the team’s best two guard. It would make Cheeks’ decision easier if Stuckey simply weren’t the best off guard option, even without considering fit.
Play well enough to get traded
If Stuckey returns healthy from his recent unfortunate injury, he should also be motivated to perform well in a contract year. The problem is, because of his inability to hit shots from the perimeter, he’s not a particularly good fit for these Pistons. So if he can come back and give some good minutes at both guard spots, maybe his versatility entices a guard-needy team to give up something minimal to take a short-term flyer on Stuckey.
Find rotation niche
With such a deep rotation at guard , Stuckey, former starter (it seems so long ago) will have to find his niche. While most Pistons guards have found their role (Will Bynum a scorer, Peyton Siva a defender, Brandon Jennings a playmaker, etc.), Stuckey is seemingly in flux. He could become a solid backup at both or either guard positions, as he’s competent on both ends of the court. Only time will tell to see what Stuckey’s niche becomes, but he must find one rather than float directionless.
Play like he want to be paid
The entire Pistons’ guard rotation is murky, and Stuckey’s status may be the murkiest. He’s coming off a down year, and Joe Dumars reportedly tried to trade him in the offseason. Not a great showing of support, and the fact that Dumars found no one to bit might be even more telling.
Stuckey can do his best to excel in whatever role he falls into. If he plays well, gets back into good graces and maybe he’ll fetch the Pistons something in a trade – and himself a few million dollars in July.