Auburn Hills — Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey has seen this movie before. And maybe that is why he wasn’t in a real talkative mood after watching the Pistons fire the fifth coach since he was drafted in 2007.
The Pistons fired Flip Saunders in 2008, Stuckey’s rookie season. Saunders guided the team to the Central Division title with 59 wins that season, but the Pistons lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. General Manager Joe Dumars said the team needed a new voice.
Since then Stuckey has played for four other coaches without experiencing a winning season. The Pistons are 171-272, and the five coaches he has played for averaged 105.2 games of service.
But Stuckey said his focus is on the future and the game against the Spurs on Monday night.
“We got a game tonight,” he said. “That is what I am worried about. John Loyer is our coach, and that is what I am focused on.”
Every coach has a different style and a different philosophy. Stuckey was brought here to be the lead guard for the Pistons under Michael Curry, who replaced Saunders. Stuckey has played for Curry, John Kuester, Lawrence Frank and Cheeks and his role seems to change with every coach. He’s gone from starter to bench player to a player who does not play to the super sub off the bench.
It must be difficult to adjust to every coach.
“Like I said, I am here to play basketball,” Stuckey said. “It is what it is. We got a game tonight against San Antonio. That is my focus. Everything already happened. Coach is done. John Loyer is our coach. It is what it is.”
Earlier this season Stuckey expressed his views to USA Today.
“It seems like every year there’s new players who you’re trying to get accustomed to,” he told the newspaper. “It’s just trying to figure each other out and all being on the same page. I really don’t think right now… We’re not on the same page. It’s difficult to try to go out there and try to win games and win games consistently.”
Even after the Pistons won two straight home games, Stuckey said the sample size was too small to determine if the team had turned a corner.
Stuckey was part of a team dispute that became public under Kuester in 2011. Players did not respect Kuester. They thought he was indecisive and unfair to certain teams. He battled with Richard Hamilton. Other players were so upset they staged a boycott of the team and did not appear at a game-day shoot-around at Philadelphia in 2011.
Austin Daye and Stuckey arrived late to the shoot-around and were held out of the game that night. Kuester only played the six players who arrived on time
They were Will Bynum, Jason Maxiell, Ben Gordon, DaJuan Summers, Greg Monroe and Charlie Villanueva.
Players were upset with Kuester’s coaching style and the fact the team did not make a trade before the trade deadline.
“We want to win,” Stuckey said. “Obviously, we were not doing that. Ownership felt we needed a change. There has been a change. It is what it is. It is a business.”
Stuckey was evasive when asked about team issues.
What did he think of the firing?
“It is not up to me,” he said. “Ownership did not meet expectations. That was their call so that is the way it is.”
What additional changes need to be made?
“You have to ask Joe Dumars. I am not the GM,” Stuckey said. “I am here to play basketball. That is what I am here for. We play San Antonio tonight. See you guys there.”
Stuckey excused himself for his next journey with a new coach.