Moving ever onward in our chain of comment-related conversations, in Wednesday’s podcast thread we saw some discussion about the roles and potential of Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Fernandez. Specifically folks were wondering how much impact they’d make and where. Much of Blazer Nation is fired up about one or both. Is it worth it?
Of the two, I’d say it will be much easier for Jerryd Bayless to claim a role on this team. I saw him play live in
I suspect I’m going to end up liking Rudy’s overall game even more than Jerryd Bayless’ personally. I love multi-talented offensive guards who keep the game in motion. Nevertheless I suspect Rudy may have a harder time carving out a niche next season. I have not seen him play. I am looking forward to the Olympics for just this reason…though I offer the caveat that even that level of play doesn’t translate one-for-one to the NBA. The
Even going by what people say and don’t say you can still glean some information, however. Almost everybody I’ve talked to has had the same, basic story. Rudy Fernandez is one of the finest players in
Eyewitnesses also agree that he’s a fantastic offensive player. Unlike Bayless he doesn’t come with the defensive credentials that will earn him a base level of playing time. This will be his biggest adjustment. I think it’s safe to say that Nate will have to pick spots for Rudy somewhat carefully at first. I’m sure Fernandez will not back away from any challenge, but at the same time it’s awfully easy to envision, “Rudy, meet Kobe Bryant. Say, have you ever had 600 dropped on you in a game? Well tonight’s your night, my man!”
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, there’s not the automatic space in the rotation for Rudy that is open for Jerryd. I think everybody would rest easier if Brandon Roy could play fewer minutes per game while still keeping
Mind you, I think all of this is going to change as Rudy grows accustomed to the NBA game and as he develops more strength and perhaps a little bulk. But that isn’t going to happen overnight.
The easiest thing Fernandez can do to ensure a spot in the rotation right away is to hit his jumpers when presented with them. If he can get open and can some twos and threes he’ll fit in well with almost any group Nate throws out there. A secondary bonus would be showing proficiency on the break, provide we generate some. The only other thing that would get him guaranteed minutes is if
In the long run both of these players will probably have an impact on this league. It’s easy to envision each of them being incredibly valuable to the Blazers. But if you’re just looking at next season’s impact, Bayless has the inside track because of his skill set and team circumstances.