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Rudy Fernandez NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
December 16, 2004
Strengths
(2005 draft scouting report, see player blog tab for much more recent updates)

Rudy Fernández is a talented and skilled shooting guard who shows almost every characteristic that a player at his position should display. He's very intense and plays the game with passion. Gifted with very nice athleticism, his main strength is his versatility in the offensive end. The kid can flat out shoot the ball, including three-pointers, with polished mechanics and a good quick release. A clear clue of his ability is his remarkable free throw percentage. Also, his shot selection is very efficient.

Perhaps, more than shooting, Rudy likes to penetrate to split defenses. With his amazing handles and great first step, he puts the ball on the floor, fakes and then dribbles easily past his defender using his quickness, sometimes finishing with a nice dunk or a variety of lay-ups. He also has the ability to dish off to the open man with great accuracy or perhaps to stop and release a mid-range jumper. He's very hard to stop and seems to have an answer for any difficulty. He also has good court vision and knows who give the ball to. He definitely understands the game, usually taking the best option when the ball is in his hands. His great wingspan, nice vertical and great desire allows him to grab a good amount of rebounds, even on the offensive end, and he can also block some shots when given the chance. Rudy is a good defender, being very active in this department. He has the right attitude, and can steal some balls with his quick hands, long arms and ability to see the passing lines.

The kid shows an uncommon maturity for his age, he's a very hard working player (reportedly, he was attempting over 300 shots a day in practice last year) and he's playing big minutes in a very tough competition. He's already shown the ability to step up and score clutch baskets. He always manages to keep his cool under pressure, and he loves big games, never feeling intimidated. He's a special player, truly competitive, and despite his great present ability, there's still room for big improvement.

Weaknesses
Rudy is 6-5, which isn't that bad for a shooting guard, but also not the ideal height for a player at this position. Nevertheless, he plays bigger with his remarkable wingspan and desire. Defensively, Rudy has to improve. His present level is quite good and he has the right attitude, but needs to develop this department along with his own body, which is still raw physically. He's very skinny right now and, for example, has a hard time fighting through screens. He still has a long way to go in terms of physical development.

Competition
He led the Spanish National Team to the Bronze medal in the 2001 European Cadets Championships.

Being only 18 years old, he played a big role with DKV Joventut in the 2003-2004 season, averaging 11 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 28.1 minutes per game, and helping his team to qualify for the playoffs in the Spanish ACB League. In the King's Cup, featuring the best teams of the ACB competition, Joventut advanced to the final and Rudy averaged more than 14 points and 5 rebounds per game to become the key player for his team's success, which was rewarded with the MVP trophy. At the ULEB Cup, he averaged 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds, but DKV Joventut could not get past the quarter-finals.

During the summer of 2004, he got a spot on the strong Spanish National Team to play in the Olympic Games, truly an achievement for such a young player.

In the current season, he has slightly improved his stats despite some minor health problems. Through 11 games in the ACB League he's averaging 12.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals in 29.7 minutes per game. Although he's struggling a little bit in the ULEB Cup, with 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and just 1.6 assist in 23.2 minutes per game after 5 contests played.

Outlook
It's not clear at all if Rudy will declare for the 2005 draft or if he will still wait. There's some kind of disappointing sense, as small as it may be, about his progression from the last season to the current one. His evolution during the year will be important to take a decision, and I expect him to step up any time. Nevertheless, it seems he's comfortable in Badalona with his team Joventut, and I think he won't rush things unnecessarily.

Whenever he decides to declare, he's first round material, talented enough even to sneak into the top-20. But it won't be easy for him to get into the lottery, considering we're talking about a slightly undersized Euro shooting guard.

Comments
The best shooting guard of his age group in Europe. Rudy Fernández is a true talent devoted to the game and a smart player, with enough athleticism to make it to the NBA. You don't find everyday such a combination of skills, athleticism, and understanding of the game mixed with a hard-working attitude. It's really a winning mixture. I'm pretty confident in him, and I think he could be a special player, although his height limits his potential a bit. The hype in Spain around him is getting a little out of control after his King's Cup performance. Let's hope he keeps cool.

Facts
Earned MVP honours at the Spanish King's Cup of 2004, becoming the youngest player to ever achieve this award. Made the second team of the 2001 European Cadets Championships. Although very different from him, Dejan Bodiroga is the player Rudy uses as a reference. He's such a basketball junkie that has already coached children. His parents also played basketball and his sister Marta Fernández is one of the best players in Spain.

 


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