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I asked a question the other day that essentially boiled down to Portland’s immediate and distant future: Who should the Blazer’s draft when they defy the odds and win the draft lottery again this spring? Jay Kay everyone, I know they won’t pick #1 again, but apparently, a lot of people think the pick should be traded for a veteran presence. I mean, why add another young player to try and fill our current needs, when we have Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez coming next year, right? Here’s the thing about that folks: this will prove to be a deeper, more talented draft than even ’03. A veteran presence could also mean an “old dog” to attempt to teach new (Nate McM) tricks, and though I’m sure a lot of you are reading about Rudy Fernandez, listening to Mike Rice give inflated praise to him, and watching his youTube reels, we don’t know who he is.

 The Port Blazers are the youngest team in the NBA, that is the statistical fact. Let me suggest to you though that they are not the youngest team in the NBA in the things that matter. Baptized by fire, these Blazers have very much come of age. They win close games, have experience with important games, know how to string wins together, gut out ugly wins, and there are many teams in the league with a higher average age, that are not as old (mature) as the Blazers.

 Trading away our pick for a veteran—a steady hand, runs the risk of also importing a player that despite his experience, also may be so set in his ways as a senior in the Association, and he could expect old circumstances to arise on his new team. The Chicago Bulls thought they were adding an anchoring defensive presence with championship experience in Ben Wallace, but as it would turn out his previous experiences hindered his ability to operate in a fashion that he was used to, and different also from what I’m sure Chicago management anticipated when they signed him.

 As for the springy Spaniard Rudy Fernandez, here is what I have to base my expectations on: NBADraft.net loves him. He has rave reviews in everything except his less than optimal strength. He played behind Jose Calderon and Juan Carlos Navarro for Spain’s most recent FIBA squad, lead the team in scoring once in the European Games, but overall, against world class competition, was not a starter. And while it isn’t awful to come off the bench behind the surprising Calderon, I’d hope this kid that everyone is banking on could at least supplant Juan Carlos Navarro, who is good… but not someone that I’d pass up a top-10 pick this year for. Watching the Fernandez youtube reel, I’ve also come to find that no one he plays against in the Copa del Rey knows how to defend a back cut. He looks as athletic as a young Vince Carter, but again, none of these D-League level talent players seems to know how to guard the back cut. So while I’m sure Mike Rice thinks Hernandez is the LeBron James over there in Spain, I have to wonder how hard it is to be the LeBron James of Spain, when all of the best Spaniards are already in the NBA. He is still young, and I hope he finds the Manu-type success that some are predicting, but to trade a lottery pick because he can beat up on terrible competition seems like the kind of thing people who are used to Trader Bob would suggest.

 p.s. if the kid is drool worthy, why was he the 24th pick?

p.p.s. sorry I wrote Jay Kay earlier.

5 Responses to “Blaze Nation: Rudy Fernandez”

  1. Haveasoda said

    why not look for Calderon at the end of the year? I know it is unlikely, and probably would ask for more than a draft pick, but most likely he will be getting shopped.

  2. ruggedly said

    You’re definitely on the right trail. Portland tried to land Calderon at the trade deadline actually, but Toronto isn’t going to let him go for anything short of one of our big 3.

  3. [...] I’m an idiot.  Rudy Fernandez is sick-a-licious.  I dogged him for a while back when Mike Rice was creaming his shorts over Rudy’s youTube videos.  But [...]

  4. Zane said

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