After an entire summer of trying anything and everything to force his way out of Portland — with his agent stepping far enough over the line as to be fined by the league — Rudy Fernandez is changing his tone as camp approaches.
“I think if Portland keeps my rights, that means they believe in me. I’m excited to begin the season with them and prove that I have my place on the team and play minutes. The most important thing is to grow as a player and as a person. I’m an NBA player and there’s not many people who can say that.”
Right. We’re all buying that.
If Fernandez is as valuable as Portland GM Rich Cho is making him out to be with trade requests — a mid-level and above first round pick and more — then the Blazers should be better able to use him in their rotation. Wouldn’t you think?
Coach Nate McMillan wants Fernandez in more of a shooters role — 32.2 percent of Fernandez’s attempts last season were catch-and-shoot, another 19.8 percent were coming off screens (according to Synergy Sports). Fernandez shot 38.8 and 34 percent on those respective types of shots.
Fernandez fancies himself a playmaker. Then again, as a pick-and-roll ball handler he shot just 27.5 percent. Really, the only place he performed well is in transition.
If they are going to have to live with one another, McMillan needs to find more creative ways to use Fernandez and his skills. Fernandez needs to knock down shots regardless. This is a marriage that should be able to work.
That or just trade the guy, finally.