INDIANAPOLIS – In just a short time, the Pacers may have found the last man in the building.
Typically in a practice, a few players will stay longer than the others to put up shots after the main workout has been completed. Danny Granger would often do so in his time in Indianapolis, often walking off the court a long time after everyone else.
On Saturday one of the newest members of the Pacers was the one doing so.
Left on the floor with assistant coach Dan Burke was Rodney Stuckey, who continued to put up shots from the perimeter about 20 minutes after the completion for practice.
“That’s what I’ve been doing ever since I came in the league,” said Stuckey of his after practice work. “This is our job, our profession. Just got to put the work in.”
Stuckey will have to do so as the Pacers expect him to do a number of things after the departure of Lance Stephenson to free agency in the summer. What “Born Ready” brought to Indiana was a scoring punch, rebounding knack and an energetic style of play that turned him into one of the more dynamic guards in the NBA.
The Pacers acquired Stuckey to try to bring some of the same to the team now that Stephenson is gone. Stuckey can certainly bring the point total to the team having averaged just under 14 points a game with the Pistons last season-nearly the exact same as Stephenson.
While his rebounding numbers are not quite to that level, head coach Frank Vogel does expect that Stuckey will be one of those guys to spark the team on both ends of the floor.
“Just what we expected when we signed him that he’s going to be in attack mode all the time,” said Vogel when asked of his impression of Stuckey early in training camp and after the first two games. “He’s gonna increase our ability to get rim-twos and free throw attempts because he is relentless attacking the basket.”
Stuckey said that won’t be a problem for him since it is apart of his normal approach to the game.
“I’m going to do it anyway regardless,” said Stuckey of playing an attacking style of basketball. “Just getting acclimated to everything but it’s been going well. I’m getting a lot of reps in practice and stuff like that so it’s been helping out.”
In the first two games of the preseason Stuckey has gotten his share of reps in games as well. In the preseason opener against Minnesota Stuckey played 25 minutes and scored ten points while also picking up four rebounds a pair of steals. He played ten less minutes against the Magic on Friday but still scored nine points and picked up three rebounds.
“I’ve been impressed with what he gives us on the defensive end as well and toughness,” said Vogel of Stuckey’s early play-and they’ll expect a lot more of that over the next six months.