Rudy Fernandez is one of the best all around players in all of Europe.
The 29-year old is an elite athlete for the European game. He is terrific in transition, creates separation off the dribble with his long strides, hangs in the air with superb balance to finish around length and makes himself a target for lobs when the opponent stares at the strong side for too long. Fernandez finished his 59 attempts at the rim in 793 Euroleague minutes at a 71.2% clip; particularly impressive considering his thin 185-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-six height. He is also effective off the bounce due to his ability to draw fouls at an above average rate as he is constantly looking for contact, resulting in 3.5 free throw attempts per 28 minutes last season.
Though he can struggle at times when forced to change directions, Fernandez is a good option out of the pick-and-roll. He hit his 72 mid-range jumpers in Euroleague play at a merely solid 38.9% clip but possesses very good instincts passing out of dribble penetration, assisting on 18.8% of Real Madrid’s baskets in his 1,915 total minutes and ranking seventh in the Spanish league in assist rate among shooting guards, while also managing to turn it over at a below average rate.
The majority of his production still came out of his shooting, though. 53.5% of Fernandez’s shots were taken from three-point range last season and he hit them at a 35.7% clip, but while averaging two makes per 28 minutes. He is a fluid shooter with a quick trigger; very effective coming out of staggered screens as few players in the European game can stay attached to him.
Aside from playing above the rim off baseline cuts, Fernandez also managed to leverage his athleticism by crashing the glass, ranking fourth in the Euroleague and fifth in the Spanish league in offensive rebounding rate among position peers. His ability to contribute even when he didn’t have the ball was essential for Real Madrid, which had several other options on offense. So though he finished only 23% of the team’s possessions with a shot, free throw or turnover (less than what you would expect from a player of his caliber), Fernandez’s impact wasn’t limited to his point scoring. As a result, Real Madrid averaged 122 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor in both leagues.
He was an equally positive presence on defense. Fernandez’s quickness translates into lateral mobility on that end as he is able to keep pace with most wings in the European game and effectively contest shots with his eight-foot-five standing reach. He looks to fight screens on the pick-and-roll more often than not but sometimes gets so focused on looking for the contact from the big man to try drawing a foul that he takes himself out of plays. Fernandez is active playing the passing lanes, looking to manufacture turnovers, ranking second in the Spanish league and eighth in the Euroleague in steal rates among position peers.
He also managed to leverage his athleticism for production on defense. Fernandez put his leaping ability to use and was an asset in rim protection, crashing in from the weak side. He ranked in the top 10 in block rate in the Spanish league and top 15 in the Euroleague among shooting guards. Fernandez was also an above average contributor on the glass, ranking in the top 10 in defensive rebounding rate among position peers in both leagues. Real Madrid allowed 98.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor in the Euroleague and 96.2 in the Spanish league. There was a drop-off of 8.1 and 7.5 points per 100 possessions, respectively, when he hit the bench.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.