NatP4 wrote:Looking good, I expect Rui to be a good 3pt shooter and overall efficient scorer, but I know he can rebound better than he showed in his first season, and that’s what will make or break his NBA career, along with becoming a passable team defender.
I’m not sure if it’s worth nothing, but his post all star net rating went from a -10.0 to a -5.4. His defensive rating dropped from a 119.9 to a 119.9. As others have noted, he shot 37.5% from 3 after the all star break.
Rebounding is the issue still.
I think rebounding will always be an issue. Rebounding is instinct and prediction and effort as much as it is size and strength. Rebounding begins before the ball goes up, getting to position and boxing out, then knowing the likely trajectory of the bounce to get there before anyone. There's skill there, dirty tricks and leverage. Many of the best rebounders play the old man below the rim game, foot work and establishing position and bulldozing you out of the way. Played with a low center of gravity not above the rim, especially on defensive boards. Rui is new to the game and I get the sense he has tunnel vision on the few things he does well. The impression he gives me on rebounding is that he doesn't instinctively feel the ball belongs to him, doesn't need to fight for it, he is acting out the performance of basketball. The best rebounders do so as if it is desperate, digging out 50/50 balls and moving people out of the way to collect their ball, diving to save a ball to a teammate, rebounding out of their area. Its the way they are going to stay on court in the 'I got next' playground game. Or not get benched in college. It requires that competitive drive. Mine mine mine mine mine. Rui by contrast is late to the game, and learned by watching highlight tapes. Of Carmelo. In FIBA competition.
Similarly on court he watches to see what is going to happen, then reacts afterwards. He is big and strong, his fundamentals can improve, but rebounding may simply be one of those things he doesn't quite commit to the way the true boardsmen do. I wish he had a role model on the bench to beat up on him in practice. He doesn't seem to avoid contact, you just can't practice rebounding by yourself, it is a game skill. We will see, but I wish we had a tough smart big man coach who could challenge and teach him.