Updates from Wednesday, July 16
Rodney Stuckey has made his decision according to USA Today's Sam Amick:
Rodney Stuckey has agreed to join the Indiana Pacers on a one-year deal, @USATODAYsports has learned. Nice pickup after losing Stephenson.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 17, 2014
With many of the big-name NBA free agents now off the market, the attention turns to where the second- and third-tier options will end up.
One such player is Rodney Stuckey, one of the more intriguing guards available.
In the wake of Lance Stephenson leaving the Indiana Pacers and signing with the Charlotte Hornets, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Pacers now have an opening in their backcourt that needs to be filled. One player they are reportedly interested in acquiring to take that role is free agent Stuckey.
Marc Stein of ESPN has more:
Also hearing Pacers are expressing serious interest in Rodney Stuckey to fill backcourt void created by Lance Stephenson's move to Charlotte— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 16, 2014
While Stuckey can replace the points lost by Stephenson's departure, he certainly isn't a like-for-like replacement. Still, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com wrote in June, Stuckey was always going to be an intriguing free-agency target for teams:
Remember when he was one of the NBA’s best young guards? His production for the Pistons plummeted the past couple of seasons (13.9 ppg, 2.1 apg, .436 FG in 2013-14), and he lost his starting job, but the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Stuckey is still only 28 years old and versatile enough to play multiple positions. He might benefit from a change of scenery.
Let's compare Stuckey and Stephenson from a season ago.
The most notable differences between the two are that Stephenson is a far better shooter and a more well-rounded player. And while it doesn't show up in the above stats, Stephenson is also a much better defender. Replacing Stephenson would never be an easy task, but Stuckey's addition would really only replace Stephenson's points.
His work ethic won't be questioned, however, if his teammate with the Detroit Pistons Tony Mitchell is to be believed.
"We had a tough season last year," Mitchell told David Mayo of MLive.com. "Guys like (Rodney) Stuckey and Greg Monroe, those guys, just watching them, working in the gym, I just try to imitate them and do the things that they did, and work hard."
While Stuckey's production has indeed declined over the past two seasons, he's still a player who has enough versatility and scoring ability to be a nice piece on a contending team. His outside shooting is a concern, as is his defense, but a team bringing him aboard will certainly be aware of his shortcomings.
With the pickings growing slim at the guard position, Stuckey remains an intriguing player for many teams. He has plenty of experience in the league, so don't be surprised if a playoff contender snatches him up.