After being selected with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey was expected to be able to shoulder the load and continue the team’s dominance over the Eastern Conference. He got off too a rocky start, however, breaking his hand in the final preseason game of his rookie year against the Memphis Grizzlies. Stuckey did bounce back, though, and showed solid improvement through his first two seasons, being named to the All-Rookie Second Team in 2008 and also being invited to the Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend his second year.
It was after his second year where things began to go downhill. After a first round sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Pistons decided to clean house by firing head coach Michael Curry after just one season and hiring Cavaliers assistant John Kuester. Along with a change of coaches, the Pistons also signed guard Ben Gordon and forward Charlie Villanueva to long-term, high-priced deals. This pushed Stuckey to play the point guard position permanently, which didn’t suit his abilities, and he ended up leading the team to lose over 50 games for the first time since 2001 and also brought to light his diva-like personality. It was reported that Stuckey often butted heads with Kuester as well as joining other players in a protest of the coach.
Still, it seemed as if Stuckey was going to be the one to lead this rebuilding effort. Kuester was fired after only two seasons in Detroit, and Joe Dumars brought in former New Jersey Nets (Now Brooklyn) coach Lawrence Frank. Many hoped that this would revitalize Stuckey as well as give him a new back court partner in the form of Brandon Knight.
The NBA lockout shortened the first season of the Stuckey/Frank partnership, but it didn’t make it any less tumultuous. Stuckey started off the season in a slump which caused Frank to relegate him to the bench. He felt that he was above this kind of treatment and decided that he wouldn’t play if he was going to come off of the bench. Eventually he changed his tune, but it still didn’t matter for the Pistons as they went a disappointing 25-41.
The 2012-2013 season then came around, and many analysts had the Pistons pegged as a dark-horse for the number eight seed in the East. This was partially because of the addition of center Andre Drummond, but also because Stuckey and Knight had had a whole year to build chemistry. After an 0-8 start to the season, these hopes of a playoff-caliber team quickly evaporated. Stuckey once again started off the season cold and at one point went over a week without scoring a field goal. During the season, the team traded long-time forward Tayshaun Prince to the Grizzlies in a three-way trade that netted them guard Jose Calderon. This further created a log-jam at the guard position and resulted in Stuckey coming off the bench once more.
Following the season, the Pistons fired Coach Frank and hope to select a coach who can get them their first playoff berth since 2009. To do this, though, they need to get rid of any player who could set a bad example for their young team. With the selfishness that Stuckey has shown over the years, he qualifies as a bad example. Along with that, we have come to figure out that Knight is a similar player to Stuckey and also that Stuckey hasn’t really shown much improvement over the past couple of seasons.
This is why it would be beneficial, both for the Pistons and for Rodney Stuckey, to part ways (preferably via trade) before the start of next season.
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