The Pacers couldn’t re-sign Lance Stephenson this summer, but they picked up two wing players who the team hopes can fill the void: Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles.
We discussed C.J. Miles’ play in recent years with Fear the Sword recently and also looked at some troubling numbers surrounding Rodney Stuckey. And for more on the loss of Stephenson, check out Tim Sartori’s breakdown of how Stephenson will be missed and Jon Washburn on life without Lance.
But today, we delve deeper into a Pacer life with Rodney Stuckey in a conversation with Dan Feldman of Fansided’s Piston Powered
8p9s: How would you assess Rodney Stuckey’s play overall last year?
Dan Feldman: Free agency-oriented. Stuckey was fine, but one-dimensional. He’d get his points, showing little regard for whatever contributions the team needed on a given night. Then he’d go back to the bench. Lather, rinse, repeat.
8p9s: How did his role change in recent seasons as the bigs — Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe — became the focus of the team?
Feldman: There became more of a premium on 3-point shooting in order to space the floor, and Stuckey’s role diminished. He’s a liability outside the arc, allowing defenses more latitude to pack the paint. That becomes counterproductive when Drummond, Monroe and Josh Smith (even if he doesn’t realize it) need room near the rim to have any success. (Editor’s note: Legit forgot Josh Smith was on the Pistons.)
What are Stuckey’s best skills?
Feldman: He can get to the basket to draw contact (finishing at the rim is another story), and he has a decent post-up game. He dribbles well and avoids risky passes. He also defends well in small doses.
8p9s: How do you see him fitting in with the Pacers?
Feldman: Offensively, Stuckey could be the off-the-bench scorer Indiana needs with Danny Granger and Evan Turner gone. Maybe he rediscovers some of his complementary skills, but don’t count on it.
Defensively, Stuckey is effective in spurts — long enough to show his potential on that end. The key is motivating him to maintain his defensive focus for long stretches. The downtrodden Pistons couldn’t, but maybe a team like the Pacers, playing meaningful games, will.
8p9s: Is there a chance Rodney Stuckey can rediscover some of his early promise and become a high-level player in this league or do you think he is mainly a fringe rotation guy at this point?
Feldman: Stuckey needed a fresh start, which was as much a problem of his creation as a product of the Pistons wronging him. Not that they provided him with quality coaching or a productive environment, but Stuckey was not alone in dealing with those issues. He just let the problems affect him more than they did (most of) his teammates.
Stuckey is not the caliber of player who deserves an entire scheme be built around him. He must accept that he must fit into what his team is already doing. If he uses this as an opportunity to move past some of his stubborn tendencies, he’ll find ways to help Indiana.