After five consecutive DNP-CD’s, Tracy McGrady was re-inserted into the starting lineup last night against the Spurs. Admittedly, this was surprising given the recent “mutiny,” as well as the strong play of Rodney Stuckey of late.
Less surprisingly, McGrady stepped up as he has done all season and performed wonderfully, filling up the stat sheet and posting a .390 WP48. Stuckey, on the other hand, struggled mightily to get anything going and was a non-factor at best.
More than one Pistons blog questions this coaching decision, and there are some very fair points in those critiques. Kuester is certainly grasping at straws, and it all feels a bit desperate. Further, it seems increasingly unlikely that McGrady will remain with the Pistons beyond this season, and it seems increasingly likely that Stuckey will.
I don’t disagree that Kuester’s almost constant juggling of the rotation is confusing for both players and fans.
However, the Wins Produced numbers suggest that Tracy McGrady has been the most productive Piston this season (followed closely by the ever-improving rookie, Greg Monroe), and my sense is that for many fans, this isn’t at all surprising. This time at least, Wins Produced might just pass the smell test of even the most skeptical fan.
If it’s the coach’s job to play the players that give the team the best chance of winning, then playing Tracy McGrady big minutes is Kuester’s best bet. For that reason, I am in full support of Tracy McGrady as the starting point guard for the rest of the season.
The flip side of the coin as it relates to the demoted Stuckey, though, is that Stuckey has clearly been the best Piston guard not named Tracy McGrady – especially lately. And while I still think we may be better off parting ways with Stuckey this summer, it doesn’t make any sense to relegate him to fourth guard in the rotation. None at all. (Yes, even if Rip finally had a good game.)
So kudos (I guess?), Coach Kuester, for making the obvious decision to get McGrady minutes. Next time, though, maybe it’s better to find those minutes somewhere else.