Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rudy Fernandez first hand

We don't get to see much of Rudy Fernandez here in the states (at least not yet), but sites like Draft Express are a fantastic source of information on players playing outside of the United States. Luis Fernandez's write-up of Rudy Fernandez's MVP performance at the Copa del Rey is the latest bit of quality reporting on the Spanish shooting guard.

You just can’t concede Rudy any opportunity, because he will bury you with a barrage of shots in the blink of an eye. Enjoying NBA range, effective off the dribble and even fade-away moves, and extremely quick with the release of the ball, the only way to stop Fern├índez is to make him pay for his relatively limited ball-handling skills, especially with his left, and slashing ability. Indeed, Rudy struggles in pure one-on-one situations if he’s pressured, as it was exposed particularly in the semifinal. Suffering against aggressive on-ball defenses, he struggled trying to get rid of his opponent off the dribble, and given his prominence in Joventut’s offense, it almost cost his team the game.

Rudy needs to be already in motion or to enjoy some kind of advantage (a screen, an unbalanced defense, a mismatch) in order to break that first defensive opposition—but once he manages it, he’s extremely difficult to stop, thanks to his long strides, good footwork, and crafty finishing ability around the rim. He doesn’t need to find the layup, as he can stop somewhere in the paint to release his mid-range jumper while hanging in the air. He delivered a lot of that stuff in the final, paving his way to an outstanding 32-point outing that crowned his MVP performance in the Copa.

Having a nice feel for the game (even if he might eventually force too much trying to create his own shot, as it happened in the semifinal), Rudy can also officiate as a creator for his teammates thanks to his passing game. He sees the court pretty well, and shows a quick mind to take decisions. He did nice work here in the quarterfinal game, throwing some excellent passes, including consecutive alley-oop lobs, which fueled the spectacular aggressive and up-tempo style that Joventut likes to put in practice. He outdid himself in the semifinal, though, coming up with 9 assists to make Real Madrid pay for the defensive attention he was receiving.

Luis Fernandez goes on to note that defense doesn't seem to be a "high priority" for Rudy Fernandez at this point, but that he has the tools to be a good defender when motivated. Luis Fernandez attributes some of the lackadaisical defending to DKV Joventut's "gambling" style of defense. It'll be interesting to see how difficult that transition is to Nate McMillan's structured style of defense if and when Rudy comes over.

4 comments:

Nick said...

The more I hear about Rudy the more I see him as being (at best) a 2nd option on the second unit.

The lack of ball-handling skills, size, and nose for D are also somewhat troubling.

Who knows, maybe he'll pan out if/when he comes over?

millertime said...

ya ball handling is a must in the nba the blazer also need some better on ball defenders. so nicks right. broy plays on ball D pretty well but we some more defenders

Albert said...

rudy is right now the most dominant scorer in Europe in you must think that defenses are really tought here(with no defensive 3seconds)... Just watch some videos of the Kings Cup in Spain that his team won(being
Rudy the MVP) right here:

http://acbtv.acb.com

those that start saying "Copa, final..."

Next you'll change your mind, I've seen many great players going grom Europe to NBA and only ginobili and gasol(thought they are diferent players) were as dominant as rudy...

mrblazer said...

Nick,

Perhaps you should try actually watching him play before you start trying to determine just how effective he'll be in the NBA.

Millertime,

Ball handling is a must in the NBA? That simply isn't true. Ask Kevin Martin, Rudy Gay, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allan, or a host of other very potent offensive players that don't enjoy a very good handle.

While handles are fantastic to have, they aren't a must to be effective. As it is, though, Rudy can dribble circles around Webster. I think he'll be just fine.