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Player-by-Player: Sergio Rodriguez

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Sergio Rodriguez is under consideration today and instead of a head-to-head debate we have more of a group discussion...

                          

Spock:  I fail to see the logic in the infatuation you humans display towards Sergio Rodriguez.  A statistical analysis of the relevant data shows little correlation between his production and the popular response.  His assist to turnover ratio of 2.8 was mildly impressive, placing him 15th in the league among point guards.  His assists per 48 minutes would have placed him in 6th place overall had he played enough minutes to qualify for consideration.  He did not.  Logically there must be a reason for this.  One possibility is that the coach is incompetent, insane, or has a motive to lose games.  While the hypothesis cannot be discounted completely there is little evidence to support such a claim.  The more likely reason is that the coach has recognized the flaws in Mr. Rodriguez's game.  He exhibits poor decision-making skills.  His defense is sub-par.  Team offense is his strength yet the team scored less when he was on the floor than when he was off it.  Admittedly his passes do have an certain aesthetic quality.  This leads casual observers to overvalue his contributions.  Gentlemen, we continue down this road at our peril.

Kirk:  Granted, Mr. Spock, granted.  But numbers and charts do not tell the entire story here.  Basketball is a fluid game, a game of intensity and emotion.  Illogical, perhaps, but deeply human.  We human beings rely on more than cold calculation.  We need inspiration as well.  All of the great athletes have shown this quality.  Michael Jordan and Lawrence Taylor of earth, Kryxnyl Rizon of Moon Colony 6, the Beelinger Drifters of Tau Ceti Prime...all of them set their teammates on fire with their play and made their teams more than efficient, they made them champions.  If the games were played on paper we would never need to take the court.  But sometimes, unexpectedly, a team will rise beyond itself, become more than the sum of its parts, for no discernable reason other than the flow of emotion that overtakes it.  A team needs a leader who embodies those qualities and who passes that fervor on to the rest of the players.  You can't always follow what's logical and predictable.  Sometimes you have to go with your gut.  Sergio Rodriguez is that kind of player.  That is why we love him.  He doesn't just make us celebrate basketball, he makes us celebrate being...human.

McCoy:  What he's trying to say, Spock, is that your cold, emotionless, Vulcan heart can't even begin to understand what it takes to make a champion.

Spock:  Doctor, the Vulcans were winning galactic championships over species twice their size when humans were still drawing water buffalo on cave walls with charcoal sticks.

McCoy:  Nevertheless, Spock, you've got to admit that the boy has gumption.  He has fire.  He makes things happen out there!

Spock:  What he makes happen, Doctor, are turnovers and stalled plays.  Though his successful passes dazzle the easily-moved among us, on Vulcan, where the whole body of his work would be taken into consideration, they would merit no more than--to use an old earth expression--a golf clap.

McCoy:  Yes, and a 360, tomahawk jam would merit no more than a raised eyebrow from you green-blooded, pointy-eared...

Spock:  Dr. McCoy if you persist in these racial epithets I will be forced to report you to human resources.

McCoy:  Poppycock!  How can you go to human resources when you're not even human?

Spock:  No doubt a display of unintentional chauvinistic irony on Star Fleet's part.  But they will be most interested in hearing about the hostile work environment you are creating.

McCoy:  If you want to talk about hostile work environments let's talk about what you did in the sickbay washroom the other day!

Spock:  That was the day that the food replicators were malfunctioning and would only produce cantaloupe.  I fail to see how I can be blamed for the results.

McCoy:  Well if you didn't have a third kidney where your stomach is supposed to be you probably wouldn't have those problems.

Spock:  Scientific studies have proven Vulcan anatomy far superior to...

Kirk:  Gentlemen...GENTLEMEN!  Let's get back to the subject at hand.  Is Sergio Rodriguez prepared to take the helm of an NBA team?  Spock, you mentioned stalled plays.  Elaborate.

Spock:  When Mr. Rodriguez is on the break his passing ability is, as you humans would say, inspired.  However when the game slows down and the defense tightens he has a far more difficult time seeing and making appropriate plays.  Often this results in him pounding the ball against the hardwood repeatedly while the 24-second clock drains slowly towards zero.

Scotty:  She is takin' quite a poundin' Captain!  I dinna think she kin take much more.  She's gonna blow and there's nothin' I kin do ta stop her!  You've got ta find a way to take the pressure off!

Kirk:  Understood Mr. Scott.  Just hold her together for a little while longer.

McCoy:  Jim, there were rumors that a language barrier could have something to do with the difficulty in executing plays.

Kirk:  Uhura?  What are you getting on that?

Uhura:  There's some communication going on in the halfcourt, Captain, but it's garbled.  I can't quite make it out.

Kirk:  Well put the Universal Translator on it and let me know when you have something.

Chekov:  The Russian players never have a problem making themselves understood.  We are wery, wery clear.

Kirk:  Yes, but can someone give me a clear answer as to whether we should keep this guy or not?

Spock:  Right now it comes down to a matter of style versus substance.  We dare not sacrifice the team's quest for substance merely to enjoy his style.  However he lacks experience and his play could improve as he matures.  I suggest further study under controlled conditions with moderated expectations.

Kirk:  That sounds reasonable.  We'll continue to watch him as he...

Sulu:  Captain!  Sensors indicate an unidentified object crossing our trajectory!  60,000 kilometers and closing!

Kirk:  Red alert!  Shields up!  Spock...any reading?

Spock:  It appears to be a large piece of space detritus.  Its scale is...enormous.  It is drifting aimlessly with no discernable purpose.

Kirk:  On screen.

Sulu:  We can't, Captain.  It's too large to fit.

Spock:  Captain!  Sensors show it is wearing a Portland Trailblazers jersey...the number is...23.

Kirk:  Full reverse Mr. Sulu!  Prepare photon torpedoes.

Uhura:  Captain, we're getting a hail from another ship off our port bow.  It's Joey Crawford and he wants to fight.

Kirk:  (sigh)  This just isn't our day...

Unfortunately that's all the time we have for this episode.  Feel free to discuss the ongoing Sergio issue as we wait for the conclusion next week.  What will he mean to this team?  Is he even close to being ready to assume decent minutes, let alone start?  How good will he be long-term?  Star?  Role-player?  Flash-in-the-pan?  His stats are here if it helps.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)