Let’s see what Rudy can do in a zone.
It’s tough to really gauge how good Fernandez can be this season with the Blazers at 6-4. Are we seeing his best? Or is there still more to come? A couple more months will reveal a lot, that’s for sure – the guys will know Rudy’s game more and he’ll know theirs. Don’t get me wrong. He’s been nothing short of amazing thus far. But hard pressed to critique his game, it is clear his defense needs some work.
A story on “Rudy’s Big Adjustment” is running today over at HOOPSWORLD….defense is the topic at hand. You just know that side of the game is something Rudy is anxious to improve. And he will.
Even still, passing marks (even on defense) fill his resume ten games into the season:
Scoring: At 13.6 points per game, Fernandez has been solid in the second unit. Now you just wonder if he’ll get any starts this season. Grade: A+
Shooting: On a team full of jump shooters, Fernandez has been a breath of fresh air. He’s easily replaced James Jones in dialing it in from deep (44%). He ranks second in the league in three-pointers made (24) and sixth in three-pointers attempts (54). He gets a little trigger-happy from down there at times (Minnesota at home where he was 3-7; and at Miami, 3-8), but Rudy’s efficiency puts your mind at ease. He knows when to hold them and knows when to load them. His mid-range has been solid too (45%) but it’s that release from beyond the arc that has the entire league taking notice. Grade: A
Passing: Rudy’s been a little less “Pistol” Pete Maravich than we saw in the preseason. He’s averaging two assists per game. Maybe he’s just finding a comfort zone. Again, that’s a part of his game that could show in another month or two when familiarity spreads. Right now, he’s keeping it simple. Perhaps that’s best. No need to force it. Grade: B+
Steals: The guy is active. This much we know. After a made bucket it’s not uncommon for Rudy to lurk, ready to catch someone sleeping inbounding the ball. This is a tough one to grade though. You can tell Rudy wants to cheat the passing lane, but he also doesn’t want to get beat defensively. It’s a Catch-22. He’s averaging a steal a game in roughly 28 minutes play. Look for this number to jump in the coming weeks. Grade: B
Free-Throws: 94% – ranks first on the team. Enough said. Grade: A+
Turnovers: You have to ask yourself: is the guy being sloppy or is he trying to make something happen? At 1.40 turnovers per game – third highest on the team (Brandon Roy leads with 2.20) – Rudy is trying to make something happen. Can’t fault him there. Grade: B
Defense: Knowing Rudy has to cope with how physical the league is and Nate wanting him to “stand down” instead of “hopping around” defense is an area he’s still been decent in. Sure, he’s been beaten on some assignments and needs to set harder screens. But Rudy is also not afraid to take a charge. That is always a good thing. Still, there’s room for improvement. Grade: B-
pic via: daylife