Rodney Stuckey was privately looking forward to going against his idol, Dwyane Wade of the Heat. Wade missed the first Pistons-Heat game in January, followed by Stuckey missing their last meeting at the Palace.
Turns out Wade will miss this meeting with a sore ankle, and Stuckey won’t get his shot.
“The other night he slightly tweaked his ankle, on one of those dunk attempts,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “It’s a little bit swollen, it’s nothing major. It was a close decision.”
Stuckey’s playing the best ball of his career, and by the advanced stats guru’s, Stuckey is the fourth-best shooting guard in the NBA since the All-Star break.
There’s no doubt Stuckey viewed Wade as a benchmark for his career, being they share styles of play.
Assuming Stuckey can keep this play up and add a little more to it after this season, there’s no reason to believe next season, that one-on-one matchup won’t have a lot of juice to it.
Quietly, Stuckey is turning into the Pistons’ best two-way player and best player, period. Whatever his ceiling is, I believe he’ll reach it within the next two years, when he’s 26 and 27 years old.
How that compares to Wade, if it can even apply, remains to be seen. But fans have to be encouraged with the way Stuckey’s playing.