Rodney Stuckey might have been the first NBA player to set a career high in assists out of spite.
Stuckey didn’t admit that he purposely passed up shots in Wednesday’s 107-93 victory over Toronto, but it sure looked that way. Detroit’s leading scorer attempted just one shot, a missed layup on a fast break, while notching 14 assists.
“I passed up a couple of shots when I should have shot the ball, but I was just looking for my teammates,” he said. “It’s just the way the game developed. A lot of people don’t know I’m a good passer, so I tried to showcase that tonight.”
Stuckey became the first Pistons player to reach 10 assists in a game before taking a shot. The last NBA player who did that was Indiana’s Jamaal Tinsley against Detroit on April 3, 2007.
That’s certainly not Stuckey’s nature. He’s known for attacking the basket and trying to finish or draw fouls, but he repeatedly passed up opportunities to shoot. On one possession, he threw the ball to Ben Wallace with the shot clock about to expire, and the club incurred a 24-second violation.
Once considered a franchise player, Stuckey could be moving to another team next season. He’s a restricted free agent, and the Pistons could opt to let him walk. Stuckey began the season as the starting point guard, was moved to shooting guard, regained the point guard spot and has now come off the bench three of the last four games.
Tired of his role being in flux, Stuckey is counting down the days to the end of the season.
“I ain’t worried about that money. It’s going to come,” he said. “I’m just going to go out and play hard. Whatever my teammates and the coaching staff needs me to do, I’ll do. Fourteen games — I think I can finish that coming off the bench.”
Coach John Kuester, whose team plays New York on Friday, didn’t mind seeing Stuckey give the ball up.
“I thought he was attacking, but he wasn’t attacking for himself, he was attacking for others,” Kuester said. “You can attack at times and not always for yourself, and that’s one of the things I thought was so impressive.”
PISTONS 107, RAPTORS 93: The Pistons had three players reach the 20-point mark as they snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday night. Their 38-point first quarter was their highest-scoring opening quarter this season, and their 33 assists for the game were also a season high.
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