Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blazers Improvement '10: Rudy Fernandez

Coming off a sensational rookie campaign which saw him break the single season three-point record for first-year players (159), Rudy Fernandez's hopes of a successful sequel in 2010 were thwarted with an assortment of injuries, ranging from a needed microdiscectomy to relieve pressure on a nerve in his back to strained quadriceps. Both obstacles kept Fernandez out of action for multiple games at a time, making it hard to establish a rhythm; he struggled with inconsistencies all season long. The toughest pill to swallow had to be the timing of the injuries. Just as he was on the cusp of hitting his 2009 stride, as evidenced by exceeding his seasonal averages in points (10.4), field goal percentage (.423), and three-point shooting (.471) over a span of a 14 game stretch directly after the All-Star Break, he incurred yet another setback on March 20th. Were injuries solely to blame for the sophomore slump or was there more to it?
  1. Shooting Off The Dribble
  2. Already renowned as one of the best pure, spot-up shooters in the league, Rudy Fernandez is a threat to the opposition any time he is left open, garnering the attention of his defender. For Rudy to become a more complete shooter and accumulate more of his defender's awareness, refining his ability to shoot off the dribble will be necessary to achieve both. It's been said the best way for a shooter to get into a groove is to simply see the ball go in the basket. If all that's attempted are long-distance three-pointers, the chances of finding a rhythm in that particular way is slimmer than putting the ball on the floor and taking it hard to the basket, either resulting in a trip to the foul line or a lay-up.
  3. Limit Turnovers
  4. Taking a quick look at the turnover leaders this past season in the NBA, many familiar faces rank high on the list: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade. There's no secret the players with the ball in their hands the most also have the highest frequency of coughing it up, so in retrospect, Fernandez's 1.2 turnovers per game isn't anything to scoff at compared to Wade's league-leading 5.2. And while Rudy thrives in the open court, taking and making the crowd-pleasing play, there's always those few head-scratching moments he can instill upon the game. While a few questionable decisions are inevitable, Rudy's "controlled-chaos" enamors the fans and engages his teammates, because creativity is being generated, the intent was correct, and the majority of the choices made lead to prosperous outcomes.

By reducing his turnovers and enhancing his offensive repertoire, Fernandez can further interject more spirit and zeal into the game, significantly strengthening his role on the team and making the case for most dynamic 6th man in the NBA.


  1. My man needs to get in the gym! He'll never be an impact player until he gets strong enough to play D and finish in traffic.

  2. Yea, great point. It would have been #3 on my list, but I'm trying to keep the improvements limited to 2 this summer. Do you think the Ariza hit he took has had any adverse affects on him? Does he now think twice heading to the hoop because of it? If so, just another reason to dislike LA!