You thought you’d heard the last of Jerry Stackhouse as an NBA player, didn’t you? You thought injuries and age had robbed him of the athleticism once deemed necessary for him to be relevant as a player.
If you didn’t, you’re much more plugged in than I, because I certainly did.
But no, Jerry Stackhouse is back … as a Buck (or is on the way shortly). I guess since the Bucks recent play has fans recalling all of the horror stories about the Bucks since 2002 they felt it necessary to take it one step further and sign a player who was last relevant in the early part of the 2000′s.
I called my dad upon hearing the Bucks had signed the 15-year veteran, his response?
“Nooo. Isn’t he coaching?”
I think that’s the consensus opinion of Stackhouse. Personally, I thought he was still on the Grizzlies payroll, waiting to be traded again to make some numbers work. After a little research, it appears Stack was bought out in July shortly after the Shawn Marion to Dallas trade that involved Memphis. Stackhouse has been working out and auditioning for teams since August. He recently spoke with Terry Foster of DetroitNews.com:
“I have the mind-set that I am going to be ready to try to help somebody,” Stackhouse said. “I have been off a year and got my body right. It would be perfect for me to come in and try to win a championship.”
So where exactly did the Bucks come from on this one? They aren’t exactly title contenders and seem to be falling out of the playoff picture faster with each passing day. Why the Bucks would want a well past his prime veteran like Stackhouse is something of a mystery.
Unless he’s further trade bait.
The Bucks have been in the asset acquiring business for some time and always make it sound like they’ve been trading larger contracts for multiple smaller ones in the interest of flexibility. Thus far, that hasn’t led to much. The Bucks have the same cast of characters they had at the start of the year and we’re approaching the half-way mark. If the organization is starting to believe they won’t be heading to the playoffs this year, perhaps the wheeling and dealing could soon begin.
And that’s where Stackhouse may fit in (I’m not 100 percent on this yet, the Bucks may have to wait 30 days to trade Stackhouse, I’m looking into the rules on this sort of thing). If he really was impressing teams in his recent auditions, could it be that the Bucks wanted to act first so they’d hold his rights in the interest of trading him to a playoff contender before the trade deadline? A team like Chicago may be interested in adding Stack for a second round pick as scoring off the bench, given how offensively challenged they’ve been this year.
The other possibility, and this seems a long shot, is that the Bucks think Stackhouse can help with Milwaukee’s own scoring issues. In Stackhouse’s prime, he could get to the free-throw line with the best of the league, twice leading the league in free-throw’s made. That was the start of the previous decade, this is the start of a totally new one. Stackhouse no longer has the athleticism that once made him great, even if he still has the will of a shooting guard intent on getting to the basket. The issue not related to Stack’s faded athleticism, is that he’s simply never been a very efficient scorer.
Stack once shot 45 percent for a year (in 1997-98, or 12 years ago), but that proved to be an anomaly as his career percentage of 41 is a much more accurate representation of his typical output. If the Bucks think they’re signing a player who can still be a productive scorer, it certainly appears they have another thing coming. But that can’t be the reasoning, there must be more to this. There’s no way a team that is clearly rebuilding can willingly take minutes away from a developing player like Jodie Meeks to thrust them upon a beat up veteran who has no value to the future Bucks.
Meeks is the one who has the most to lose here. His inconsistencies have been obvious, mainly he’s been unable to produce in most games and has only shined in games that have more or less been decided. The thing is, he is young and shows flashes of being a productive player, maybe not a future star or even a starter, but he could one day be a nice offensive option off the bench at least. Why bury him further down the bench on a team that realistically isn’t going to have any of the players he’s competing with for minutes in two years?
So, what if my trade theory is not the case and there is nothing to this beyond the Bucks looking for a scoring punch? Then I’m starting to really worry.
I guess I’ll just leave you with this (Hat Tip Tom Haberstroh’s Twitter account):