Rodney Stuckey and his agent made sure to keep in touch with the Indiana Pacers throughout the free agency process. Good move.
It resulted in the shooting guard landing a one-year deal with the Pacers earlier this week, on the same day in which Indiana lost budding star Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets on a three-year, $27 million free-agent signing.
Interestingly enough, Stuckey averaged 13.9 points in a dismal year for the Detroit Pistons last season, the same year in which Stephenson had a breakout campaign with averages of 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists.
Although Stephenson, 23, has more of an upside than Stuckey, 28, the latter shooting guard looks forward to regaining form from his 2009-10 season which had him averaging a career-high 16.6 points per game. What are the chances he elevates his game back to that point?
Well, you never know what a new change of scenery can bring to an NBA vet, especially one who has been losing with the Pistons in recent years.
“If they want me to come off the bench, then I’ll do that. If they need me to start, I’ll do that. It doesn’t really matter. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do,” Stuckey told the Indianapolis Star yesterday. “I’m excited to have a fresh start. It’s going to be good for me. I want to win. I’m going to come in and work hard. I’m going to earn everyone’s respect. I’m going to earn my minutes and I’m just going to come in and just compete.”
While Stuckey will likely not be enough for the Pacers to forget about Stephenson, his attitude should bode well for Pacers president Larry Bird, coach Frank Vogel, and star Paul George if they’re going to get back into the Eastern Conference hunt.
The Pacers still have small forward Evan Turner, who wasn’t played much during the playoffs, after reportedly getting into a brawl with Stephenson the day before the postseason began.