The Bulls still have about $3 million to spend and one more roster spot to fill.
Rumor had it the team was taking long, hard looks at both Eddie House and Roger Mason. Unfortunately, House was signed by the Evil Empire Miami Heat and Mason has been picked up by the New York Knicks. Who does that leave?
Keith Bogans? Gak.
Tracy McGrady? Double gak.
I’d rather see the Bulls bring back Flip Murray than sign either of those guys. In fact, I’d rather see the entire team develop incurable skin fungus than sign “Knee-Mac.” I’m just sayin’.
Perhaps it’s important to get a little insight into what management is looking for. In an appearance on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said: “…we feel we have to add more shooting. So right now, that’s what we’re putting a premium on.”
More shooting, eh? As I’ve mentioned before, McGrady is a career 33.7 percent three-point shooter. So even if he didn’t need a really good sports psychologist, I doubt he really fits that particular bill.
You know, the Portland Trail Blazers are still dangling Rudy Fernandez out there. And it appears he wants to come East. Conference-wise, that is.
According to Ben Q. Rock of SB Nation Chicago, Madrid-based sportswriter Francisco Rabadan tweeted the following (translated from Spanish by Mr. Rock): “I spoke with Rudy this morning. He doesn’t know anything about his possible trade to Chicago, but he gave me a clue: ‘the East seems very attractive to me.’”
Could the Bulls get him? I don’t know. If they could secure the rights to Fernandez for James Johnson and a first round draft pick, I’d give Gar Forman a big old thumbs up. But that’s about the only deal that a) both sides might reasonably agree on and b) I would be okay with. (I definitely wouldn’t be happy with giving up Taj Gibson for Rudy.)
A better question might be: Would Rudy be a good fit for the Bulls?
Well, if the team wants a shooter, they’d be getting one. During his rookie season (2008-09), Fernandez shot 39 percent from beyond the arc. During the final eight games of that campaign, he went 20-for-39 (50.9 percent).
Last season, his three-point percentage dropped to a shade under 37 percent as he struggled to adjust to his role on the team and a slight decline in his minutes per game. But he still had hot stretches, like a six-game span in early March when he went 5-for-10, 4-for-4, 1-for-3, 4-for-6, 3-for-5 and 3-for-5.
Look, the kid can shoot the three. That’s not the problem.
One potential issue is his inaccuracy from inside the arc. According to Hoopdata, Rudy shot 26.9 percent from 10-15 feet and 25.0 percent from 16-23 feet during the 2009-10 season. Those numbers weren’t much better in 2008-09: 23.0 and 29.0 percent, respectively.
Yikes. Rudy has a midrange game that would make Tyrus Thomas cringe. Not a good sign.
Shooting aside, Fernandez is pretty decent off the ball. According to ESPN’s John Hollinger: “Fernandez is outstanding moving without the ball in general, reminiscent of a Reggie Miller or Richard Hamilton, and he draws a lot of fouls this way. Off the catch, he primarily looks to shoot immediately. He’ll pass and cut if the shot isn’t there, but every so often he’ll get a wild hair and try a daring, creative and impossible pass that either ends up in Row 17 or starts a 3-on-1 the other way.”
Hmm. That “wild hair” Hollinger mentioned worries me. So does the fact that he became unhappy so quickly in Portland. Fernandez was on a winning team playing alongside character guys like Brandon Roy. That’s not exactly the Ninth Level of Hell.
I mean, would things be much different for Fernandez on the Bulls? Look at Chicago’s roster: Derrick Rose, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, James Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik.
That’s a pretty deep team. How many minutes would Fernandez get in a backcourt that includes Rose, Watson, Brewer and (probably at times) Korver? Last season, Rudy became “disgruntled” playing 23 minutes a game (down from 25 the previous season). How many minutes would he see on the Bulls?
I can’t see him earning many more than he got with the Blazers. Especially considering his notorious weakness on the defensive end. Here’s what Hollinger had to say about Rudy’s D going into the 2009-10 season: “Defensively, Fernandez’s lack of strength means the Blazers have to monitor his matchups carefully. … Fernandez does fine as long as he covers quick guys or non-scorers, but big wings steamroll him.”
To underscore that assessment, Fernandez compiled a Defensive Rating of 107 during the regular season and a staggering 123 during the playoffs. By the way, those numbers represent the number of points he was giving up per 100 possessions.
I’m not sure a defensive-minded coach like Thibodeau would be cool with that.
Look, Rudy is a wicked athlete who can drill threes and generate highlight reel-type plays. However, he isn’t a great ball handler, tends not to make aggressive moves toward the basket, has no midrange game and gets stuck in “shoot first” mode. What’s more, he just soured in only two years of being in a great system.
Still, Rudy has the proven skills (three-point shooting mostly) and potential (which seems limited only by his mind) to justify ditching Johnson and giving up a draft pick. But anything more than that? I don’t think so.