The Big Answer?: Rodney Stuckey


DF Then: How will losing 10 pounds in the offseason affect Stuckey’s game?

In three years, Rodney Stuckey has yet to turn the corner. Several reasons have been offered, but none of them have involved his weight (at least that I’ve heard).

Regardless, Stuckey lost 10 pounds this summer. I have absolutely no idea how this makes him better. (I’m not saying it won’t. I’m just saying I don’t see how it will.)

I keep hearing about playing for the same coach two years in a row making a big difference, but I don’t buy that. I just don’t think it’s that big a deal in the NBA, where players switch teams mid-season and contribute the next night.

So, if Stuckey takes the next step, I’m not sure what the reason will be. Maybe it will be the weight loss.

DF Now: Minimally, if at all

It’s impossible to compare how Stuckey would have played had he not lost the pounds, but he didn’t look much different than last year. His field-goal percentage at the rim was higher early in the season, and it finished higher than last year. But wouldn’t his weight loss mean more late in the season?

I could be missing something, but I just didn’t see any tangible results from Stuckey’s summer.

PH Then: Will he make people want to play with him?

I’m sure Rodney Stuckey’s teammates like him just fine. But the thing that struck me most about his “need to be a vocal leader” comments from media day was my belief that great point guards don’t need to let everyone know they are going to be the vocal leader.

People want to play with Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups. Those guys do one thing despite their very different styles: they make their teammates better. Some of them, like Rose, Westbrook and Rondo, aren’t pure points. Some of them love to run (Nash, Paul) and some are masters of the halfcourt (Williams, Billups). But whether it’s through their ability to find open teammates, or their ability to draw the defense with their scoring ability, or their ability to lock up the other team’s best backcourt player, all of them do something unique that creates opportunities for teammates to excel.

To this point in his career, Stuckey doesn’t do that. If he finds what his “it” is, something that he always does that makes him a unique player, he won’t have to go around telling people about his intentions to be a leader anymore.

PH Now: No

Despite closing the season seemingly trying to prove every critic wrong with a great five game stretch, Stuckey’s season was a mess.

As the starter at point guard early on, the Pistons played too slowly, Stuckey was consistently late with passes in the halfcourt and he was often confused as to when to attack and when not to. Midway through the season, he moved to shooting guard where many insist should be his only position, and was still inconsistent. He had several feuds with his coach that made both Stuckey and John Kuester look bad.

And then, maddeningly, he closed the season showing that he actually does know when to attack vs. distribute. Stuckey is still an intriguing talent, but in no way has answered any questions about his ability to lead a good team from the point guard spot.