As you all may know by now, yesterday was about as competitive of a friendly as you’ll see in International basketball when Team USA narrowly defeated Spain 86-85. Blazer fans should have also had a vested interest due to the appearances of guard Rudy Fernandez and forward Victor Claver. However, both struggled to get their games going. Claver only played 4 minutes, finishing with 1 point and 2 rebounds. Analysts Rick Kamla and Steve Smith actually did a tremendous job of building him up, however he didn’t get enough time to really do anything. His form on shot looked solid, and he had a little athleticism to him but it was not the best first impression. I mean turning the ball over trying to go behind your back on a fast break does not inspire confidence.
(Sidenote: I think I’m still bitter about the whole DeJuan Blair thing. *sigh*)
As far as Fernandez goes….he was more Rudy than ever. I think ESPN‘s Chris Sheridan had the line du jour when talking about Rudy’s performance:
Fernandez played as though he wanted the Portland Trail Blazers to cut him on principle;
Yikes, between that, getting blocked by Kevin Durant and Steve Smith ripping on his highlights, it wasn’t the best day for #5. In 22 minutes, Fernandez managed 5 points on 1-for-5 shooting and generally looked sloppy for most of the game. I will say this, his energy and effort were there defensively. However, if you were like me and hoping to see the playmaking Fernandez…you didn’t see much different than the guy who struggled against the Suns. I think that’s the best way to describe it, he didn’t look any different than ever. The most telling part to me was Fernandez got yanked about 2 minutes and even HIS National Coach said something to him. I can only imagine what Nate was thinking.