Lets get one thing out of the way from the beginning: I like Rudy Fernandez, but I have a question that comes from watching the video the team often shows before introducing Blazers at home.
If you’ve been to the Rose Garden, you may know the one. It’s in grayscale, shows individual players posing with the ball, storm clouds behind them, and thundering music playing. As a season ticket holder, I’ve seen this video many times, but at the game against L.A. I notice something for the first time. Biceps. Specifically, I noticed that Steve Blake had muscular definition in his arms, which did not surprise me. After all, despite his limitations as a player, there’s never been a question that he works hard, which includes lifting weights to ensure he’s as strong as quickness allows.
No, what struck me was how ‘50s Rudy’s arms were. He had no discernable muscles in his arms. Yes, I realize that Rudy is a lean guy. He’s not going to have the cannons that a Bayless will. But even skinny dudes can add muscle. I know; I’m one of them and certainly no athlete. What it comes down to is this: regular hours in the gym and a decent exercise program.
So what? Wasn’t, Reggie Miller was both skinny and an elite NBA player?
This is what: time in the gym may be symptomatic of the kind of dedication to improvement that separates the average NBA players from the good and especially the excellent. This line of thinking lead made me wonder. How much better a player is Rudy today compared to his first season in the League? Has he studied tape, analyzed defects in his game, identified where he needs to improve and put in work to make himself better? Has he become more durable, better able to sustain physical defense and finish a shot? Has he gotten better at getting to the basket? Has his midrange game improved? Has he improved his 3-point percentage? Has his assist-to-turnover ratio increased? Gulp.
Yes, Rudy was injured, but he hasn’t been for a while. We’re in year
three two of his NBA career and, alas, I don’t see significant improvement. I have with a number of other Blazers, such as Roy, Bayless, Oden. Does someone know if Fernandez has the work ethic of these three, the willingness to put in the work necessary to reach the next level?