Maybe Rodney Stuckey has some value left to the Detroit Pistons.
The veteran Pistons guard, who might be playing his last NBA season in Detroit, returned to the lineup Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies after sitting out the preseason with a hand injury from slamming a car door. One might suspect it would take Stuckey several games to get back into the groove. But he almost looks as good as new.
He was perhaps the most pleasant story for the Pistons on a night when they lost in overtime to the Grizzlies. Stuckey came through where two of the Pistons’ new faces, Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith, struggled. Billups was 1-of-7 and Smith 7-of-23 from the floor. Stuckey is showing he can still have a solid shooting night with an 8-of-13 clip for 19 points. Such a night might eventually tempt coach Maurice Cheeks to start Stuckey ahead of Billups, and maybe put Stuckey back on the bench when Brandon Jennings regains his health.
Last season, Stuckey didn’t have one of his better years considering he averaged 11.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. For his career, he was averaging 13.4 points, 4.2 assists and 3.1 boards per game. He also had one of his poorest shooting percentages at 40.6 percent last season.
Stuckey needs to establish a trust in his coach and teammates, something he hasn’t had in the past. There have been times it appears he is playing only for himself. It was just one game Friday, but if it’s any indication of what’s to come, Stuckey has set his priorities straight.