NBA point guard
, 1989 to present.
Weight: 185 pounds
Rod Strickland was born in The Bronx, New York, on July 11th, 1966. He attended Truman HS in the Bronx, then DePaul University. After an excellent junior season at DePaul, averaging 20 points and 8 assists, Strickland declared for the NBA draft.
Strickland was taken by the New York Knicks with the 19th pick of the 1988 draft, and played well in limited minutes behind Mark Jackson. Strickland was dealt to the San Antonio Spurs in the middle of his second season for veteran Maurice Cheeks. (The Knicks have a long history of trading promising prospects for washed-up veterans). Strickland's scoring average rose to 10.6 ppg in 1990, and nearly 14 in 1991 and 1992. However, his stay in San Antonio was marred by injuries, which caused him to miss 51 games over two seasons.
Strickland was signed to a long-term deal by the Portland Trail Blazers after the 1992 season, and played some of his best ball there. In 1995 for Portland he averaged a career-high 18.9 points per game, but the Blazers were eliminated in the first round in each of Strickland's four seasons there.
After the 1996 season, Strickland was shipped to the Washington Wizards for Rasheed Wallace. Initially, Strickland was a good fit in Washington. In his first season the Wizards made the playoffs, only to become cannon fodder for the Chicago Bulls in the first round. In his second season, 1998, Strickland led the league in assists with 10.5 per game, and also averaged 18 points. However, the Wizards were unable to surround Strickland with the necessary talent, and began to finish closer and closer to the Atlantic Division basement. Strickland became discontented, and began to play poorly, miss practices, and rack up DWI arrests. Matters came to a head in the 2001 season when Strickland sat out for two months with sore hamstrings, though reportedly he was healthy enough to play. Strickland demanded his release so he could sign with a contender, and on March 1st, the Wizards released him. Four days later he signed with the Trail Blazers again, where he played limited minutes behind Damon Stoudamire, and became another malcontent in the already-divisive Portland locker room.
In the offseason, the 35-year old Strickland signed with the Miami Heat. Miami's gamble has paid off so far, as Strickland entered the starting lineup six weeks into the season when starter Anthony Carter was injured, and played better than he has in years.
Strickland is an exemplary passer when his head is in the game. He is one of the best at breaking down defenses and creating easy baskets for his forwards. He is a decent jump-shooter, though his range does not extend to the three-point line. Strickland is an above-average defender who will get his share of steals. The major knock on his game is
his mental preparedness. Strickland simply doesn't show up to play some nights, and that is the only reason that so many teams have wished good riddance to this talented point guard.
UPDATE: After a successful season with Miami, Strickland signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves to back up Troy Hudson. He was frequently injured and appeared in only 44 games.