Another third quarter collapse (33-18, despite outscoring Boston by a combined five whole points in the other three quarters), another loss. The 50th of the season to be exact. With six games left (at Washington, New Jersey, Milwaukee, at Charlotte, Cleveland, and at Philly), and the Pistons sitting at 26-50, I'm not sure I'd even be willing to bet any Irish money or free save the tiger poster coupons (only redeemable at participating Orlando area Exxon stations) that the Pistons will win at least two games and better their 27 win total from last season. I don't care what odds you give me, alright?
So, rather than dwell on meaningless losses at this point, let's get our obligatory Greg Monroe update out of the way and move on to the real story looming over this game: Monroe had 11 points on 4-6 shooting, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 34 minutes. Good things.
Now, the big story that we'll hear coming out of this game is
Shaq got hurt that Rodney Stuckey was benched for reportedly refusing to re-enter Friday night's game against the Bulls. Per The Detroit News:
Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey refused to enter the fourth quarter of Friday's game against the Bulls, and he did not play in Sunday's 101-90 loss to the Boston Celtics.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Stuckey's benching Sunday was discipline by coach John Kuester for refusing to enter the game Friday. [...]Friday, Stuckey started the fourth quarter and was removed for Tayshaun Prince with six minutes remaining. Kuester called for Stuckey to come in two minutes later, but the guard refused to re-enter.
A restricted free-agent-to-be refusing to re-enter a close game, with most of the Bad Boys in the house, after a goosebump inducing Rodman retirement ceremony during which Rodman -- as DBB Diablo so appropriately put it -- told the current team to more or less grow a pair is so shockingly stupefying that I don't know if I can bring myself to believe it. (Okay, I probably can). I don't know how much this is affecting my thoughts, but remember that a lot of media outlets (falsely) reported that he refused to re-enter a game in Atlanta earlier this year when in reality he had only blatantly ignored his coach. The difference, of course, is that this latest episode is being reported by the Detroit beat writers, while the prior was from greasy outsiders.
Whether or not this is exactly true, some kind of insubordination happened. I'm not sure what strike this is for Stuckey (not taking into account the varying opinions on his play), but it certainly adds fuel to the debate on whether bringing Stuckey back next year would be a smart decision or a massive mistake.
Matt Dery is not reporting, but he said his guess is that there is NO way he is back next year. Mind you, that's just a guess and his guess is probably as good as any of ours, although he is closer to the situation. Meanwhile, Stuckey maintains that he wants to be back and his quotes suggest those are his plans:
"Absolutely," said Stuckey when asked if he wanted to return. "At the end of the year I have to sit down with my agent, do what we have to do. But yeah, I want to return. I'm very comfortable here. I love the community, I help out a lot around here." [...]
"We all know things need to change around here," Stuckey said. "For next year, I hope things do. I'm not just speaking for myself but my teammates as well. Hopefully changes come."
"I have to sit down with my agent, do what we have to do. But yeah, I want to return" reads a lot like, "If I sit down with my agent and we can't find anything better elsewhere then, yeah, I want to return because I have no other choice."
Either way, the first change this offseason is probably going to be the firing of John Kuester. I'd bet all my Sweet N'Lows on that. Sadly for most, I don't think Joe Dumars is going anywhere. And that means, because Stuckey is a restricted free agent, JoD is not going to let him walk for nothing if he can match an offer sheet. The good news for the Pistons? Stuckey is single-handedly killing his market value with all of this. Or mayyyyybe Dumars is killing it, using Kuester as his puppet to help make Stuckey as unattractive to other teams as possible ("Our season is shot and your job depends on this... muahaha") so he can sign him as cheap as possible. That'd actually be GM of the Year type stuff in a sick, sick world (if you ignore the stuff, uh, you know, that's not GM of the Year-like).