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Player-by-Player: Sergio Rodriguez

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Minutes--  Last Year: 12.9  This Year: 8.7  Change:  -4.2

Points-- Last Year: 3.7  This Year:  2.5 Change:  -1.2

Field Goals Attempted--  Last Year: 3.6  This Year:  2.7  Change:  -1.1

Field Goal Percentage--  Last Year:  42.3%  This Year:  35.2% Change:  -7.1%

Three-Pointers Attempted--  Last Year: 1.3  This Year:  0.8  Change:  -0.5

Three-Point Percentage--  Last Year: 28.2%  This Year:  29.3% Change:  +1.1%

Free Throws Attempted--  Last Year:  0.4  This Year:  0.5 Change:  +0.1

Free Throw Percentage-- Last Year:  80.8%  This Year: 65.8%  Change:  -15.0%

Effective Field Goal Percentage-- Last Year:  47.3%  This Year:  39.5%  Change:  -7.8%

Offensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  0.3 This Year:  0.2  Change:  -0.1

Defensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  1.1 This Year:  0.6  Change:  -0.5

Overall Rebounds-- Last Year: 1.4  This Year:  0.8 Change:  -0.6

Assists-- Last Year: 3.3  This Year:  1.7  Change:  -1.6

Steals--  Last Year: 0.5  This Year:  0.3  Change:  -0.2

Blocks-- Last Year:  0.0  This Year:  0.0  Change:  0.0

Turnovers-- Last Year: 1.1  This Year:  0.7  Change:  -0.4

Assist-to-Turnover Ratio-- Last Year: 3.00  This Year: 2.43  Change:  -0.57

Salary Status:  One year at $874,000 then a team option for 1.6 million then a possible qualifying offer.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat.  It’s not really fair to evaluate Sergio Rodriguez in the same light we’re using for some of these other players.  He’s still as gooey as fresh mixed cookie dough.  Some players need more time to cook.  He hasn’t even made it to the oven yet.  Anyone remember the beginning of the year when he kept getting our bigs in foul trouble because he’d never wait for them to set the screen before dribbling through the play?  How often do you see that happen at this level?  The only reason I’m doing a review of Sergio is because he garnered so much attention during the season that we probably should talk about him a little.

You don’t need me to tell you that this was a pretty rough year for the Spanish Sensation.  One look at all the red up there in the stat review says it all.  It isn’t like this was one step forward and two steps back either.  More like one step forward and you got hit by a truck.  Something was wrong here.

Part of the issue was probably losing 1/3 of his minutes, but even though that’s a large percentage it was still only 4 minutes total.  Rhythm or no rhythm that doesn’t seem like enough to cause your field goal percentage to drop 7% or your free throw percentage to drop 15%.  He also lost assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, and those are his bread and butter.  He did practice with the team so he couldn’t have been completely unfamiliar with the system.  One (or a combination) of two things was going on here.  Either he came in unprepared and lacked concentration or his confidence was shaken.  My guess is the first happened and then the second followed, sending him into a spiral from which he never recovered fully.  He was never able to earn back those four minutes from the other guards and never got a chance to get his confidence back.

The good news is that he still showed that trademark quickness when he did get into the game.  He developed a little bit of a scoring nose as the season progressed as well.  We saw him go to the rim and finish more, a la Jarrett Jack.  We also saw Jack dive into the lane and pass to shooters on the wing, a la Sergio.  The development is slow, but it’s possible.  Also I found Jason Quick’s report that Sergio spent an hour in the post-season exit interviews with Nate encouraging.  You don’t spend that much time with someone you’ve given up on or don’t care about.  Sergio’s game needs improvement almost everywhere and it sounds like they covered all the bases and made it clear what he needs to do.  This is the NBA.  If he wants to play, he’ll work on it and be able to demonstrate progress in the fall.

In the end, that is the crux of the whole matter: how much will Sergio want it and how determined will he be, not just this summer and next year but in years to come?  NBA careers aren’t usually given, they’re taken.  From a layman’s perspective the road before him now looks even steeper than it did at the end of last season.  Will he do what is necessary to prove he belongs?

He seems like a nice guy and he’s certainly an exciting player when he gets his jets going.  I hope at the young age of 21 he can absorb some of these things and meet the challenge.  I’m wishing for a good summer for him.  I’m also wishing that he’ll get the chance to develop without being pinned as either the next, great hope for this team at point guard or a bust.  He hasn’t shown enough to warrant either extreme label.  He’s still just a kid.  The NBA isn’t very kind to kids nor should it be.  But he does get at least a little more time to show what he’s got before we pass judgment on him for good or ill.





We feel your pain, Baby, but hopefully it’ll be better soon.

--Dave (