A Deep Look into Why Rodney Stuckey is Playing So Bad


The puzzled, frustrated look is one Rodney Stuckey has been wearing all season.

I am a basketball addict. I was going to take the day off of basketball writing, but I couldn’t. I started researching some things to make another intelligent post. See, I love joking around in post grade games, giving garbage time players A+’s. It is a way for me to have fun when I look at Kravtsov and think “how am I seriously going to grade this guy?” I also had fun writing nursery rhymes before the Cavs game. Instead of telling you something obvious, like if Kyrie scores only 14 Detroit will win. I also want you to learn here, and I do some in-depth research. I have a huge post you will enjoy after another couple games. I have fun joking around, but I want to occasionally write you something that makes you think I know what I’m doing. So, today I woke up really happy I wasn’t going to write. I decided to research a couple things for an intelligent post. I shouldn’t have, because I am excited to share this with you too much. Here I am writing. So get out your pens and paper and take some notes. Hopefully you are coming to the basketball academy of Life on Dumars.

Rodney Stuckey has been playing worse. Like, before he was at least an average player and now he really bad worse. Stuckey’s PER is a career low 12.81 (which ranks as a below average player), and the two years before this season it was 18.46 and 17.62 (which ranks as an above average player). I had never been personally a fan of Rodney’s game, but I would be stubborn to act like he wasn’t better than this. He was. So, I woke up this morning asking myself over and over again why? I did a little research, and quite frankly it stood out like a sore thumb. See, this is a league of 82 games. Sometimes a guy shooting only 3% points higher from the field results in 10 more wins. So things that seem like the slightest difference, aren’t so slight at all. Here in lies the issue with Stuckey’s FG%s the last 3 seasons. They are: 2010-11 – 43.9%, 2011-12 – 42.9%, and 2012-13 – 38.6%. To further my argument, Stuckey hasn’t shot under 40% for a whole season in his career. This year, he is on pace to do exactly that You can say confidence is the issue, but I felt like there had to be a deeper issue. Here are my findings.

Stuckey is taking a career high 2.7  three point attempts, which he has a career percentage of 28.4% from three. Why Stuckey (and similarly Dwyane Wade) doesn’t take this shot out of his repertoire is beyond me. Even his career high 31.7% last year isn’t deemed good by any means. Stuckey needs to shoot these to keep the defense honest, sure I can understand that argument. Here is the thing, Stuckey has shot more 3’s in 41 games this year than he ever has in a whole season. He played 70 games two years ago and only shot 90, Now, he already has 112. You would think a Pistons official would have a sheet with that stat. Further more on the shot selection issue, Stuckey’s free throw attempts per game is down considerably. For reference, if Stuckey played 82 games this year he would have shot 292 free throws. If he would have played 82 last year? He would have shot 477, and he also had more (320) in only 55 games. Applying his career 83% from the free throw line, Stuckey would have more makes (395) in 82 games last year than attempts this season. You can believe that his confidence is issue, but beyond that Stuckey isn’t playing to his strengths. Take a look at these charts.

Stuckey Shooting Chart by Location 2012-13

 Stuckey Shooting Chart by Location 2011-12

Stuckey Shooting Chart by Location 2010-2011

Let me reiterate the value of a percent over the course of 82 games. Stuckey use to live in the restricted area, taking 44.1% of his attempts in there two years ago. He went down 2.2% to a, still good enough, 41.9% in 2011-12, which isn’t that huge of a difference. Stuckey can still play well taking only 41.9% of his attempts there. This is also true because, that the year he took 41.9% of the shots in the restricted area, he took his career high in free throw attempts. Stuckey now takes only 38.6% from the restricted area, which is down 5.5% from 2010-11. If 5.5% doesn’t seem like a huge difference, let’s take it over 82 games. In an 82 game projection, Stuckey shot in the restricted area 428 times. At his 2010-11 rate of 55%, that equals 235 made field goals. That amount turns into a total of 470 points. Now let’s compare it to 2012-13. Stuckey 82 game rate for shots in the restricted area 320 times, which is another 100 effective  shots less. At his 2012-13 percentage in the restricted area of 48%, that would equate to 154 made field goals. 154 makes equals 308 points. That is a 162 point drop in production. That’s enough points for Stuckey to carry 10.1 points per game for a 16 game period of time. Seeing how Stuckey is averaging 11.4 on the season, that is a considerable amount of points lost. Add the other 153 points Stuckey has lost on free throws mentioned above, and that is a total of 3.84 points per game over 82 games Stuckeyis losing. You can look at the fact he hasn’t made the same percent in the restricted area this year (48% versus 52% and 55%), and that his confident is affecting the fact he isn’t going for the hoop. I feel if Stuckey would establish himself down low, he could easily raise his percent.

Also on the settling issue. I already wrote about his 3 point percentage, but Stuckey use to keep the defense honest from mid range. Bringing his best offensive attribute (driving to the rim), and keeping them honest with a pull up. He use to shoot mid range shots 31.1%. This has a continual drop off also going to 25.8% (still bearable), and then 18.6% of the time (not bearable). Stuckey is a good player, he just needs to attack his right area’s. He’s not the answer for the post Prince Pistons from the corner 3, being 1-5 since Prince left (most corner 3 attempts since Prince is gone, albeit a small sample). When his 3 point attempts were 10.4% of the time, it was all good because he was just using it to keep them honest. Now that more than a fourth of his shots (26.1%) are coming from 3, Stuckey is turning into a player better left on the bench.

I still believe in Rodney Stuckey as an above average player (not a borderline All-Star). I just think he needs to use his best attributes of making free throws and driving to the hoop. This is a tool he can utilize, he is probably the best on the Pistons at this when he wants to be. Just be confident, keep the body quiet, and take it to the hole, and reap the benefits ball player.