Ruzious wrote:3 reasons the Wiz should trade Rui:
1. He's overrated.
2. Defense - going with both he and Bertans at PF is suicidal for team defense and makes it more difficult to go with Bryant at C.
3. The international money is going to start drying up unless he improves. Right now, people expect he will, but that could change very quickly.
I'm going to buck the trend here. I really like Rui and think he will evolve into an above-average 2-way player.
I'm gonna second this.
Work ethic is a talent. Looking at Rui's progression and listening to those who know him best, I think we will see consistent improvement from this highly talented player. His game has radically adjusted based on his role, whether in international play or with Gonzaga. With Japan and as a youth he was a face-up attacking player who molded his game from highlights of Carmelo Anthony after seeing video of his Olympic play. You can see a lot of that in his game. At Big Man University Mark Few is notable for building highly skilled frontcourt players. Skilled if not physically dominant. As a rookie Coach Few said that for all that Rui was dominant in practice and a workout demon he couldn't play him in games because he didn't speak english. He learned. Damn quickly. His minutes went 130 as a Freshman, 765 sophomore starting only 2 games, to 1117 playing 30 mpg, starting all 37 games as teams scoring focal point as a junior. As his usage increased his TS and EFG% and all advanced metrics improved as well. His role on that team was as their primary scorer, where ~30% of their offense flowed through his hands, and despite teams loading up to stop him he still scored super efficiently.
You want to quit on a guy after his rookie season? Yes rebounding and positional defense are not his strengths. He has shown good talent in one on one defense, but the players who are best at these skills are players who have been playing team ball their whole life. It's tough to practice rebounding by watching highlights. It's impossible to practice team defense by yourself in a gym. Is unlikely that a rookie with a strong work ethic will improve?
He scored easily early on then the scouts attacked his game. Then he struggled. He extended his range and started hitting threes, then scouts learned to attack him there and he struggled. Then the season was axed. Could he have adjusted again? Yeah probably. He needed to add a two-man game to spring free for easy buckets when good defenders get into his routine.
But If you look at his player-pair on/off numbers he played best next to Ish Smith and Shabazz Napier. And Isaac Bonga. Guys who pass. And hey we are adding Professor Wall back from a sabbatical of film study and a coaching apprenticeship. Pretty sure he can find a way to feature an active Big who is not intimidated by any situation and wants to work hard to please the collective. Coaches. Teammates. Fans. DC. And all of Japan.
Why are we trying to quit on him right now? Who says he is overrated. As a rookie. Show me how is he even properly 'rated'. I think he shows strong in his 3rd year like most players do. And if not? I'll say: cool, we ink him for a cheaper 2nd contract. Then he takes over. Because looking at the things he has been adjusting on court I have seen him changing and altering and learning and translating coach speak into small adjustments. Even while playing next to a hero-ball me first player who blew a crater in anything team related on either side of the ball. How is any player going to learn good team defense next to the ghost of Isaiah Thomas?
I think he's going to positively surprise the fans who are jumping to be first to bail on the guy. While teams are idle the only things a player can reliably work on with coaches is their body, and their jumper. No chance Rui comes back stronger? With more range? Because the guy who coaches had to force to stop practicing and working out so as not to overwork himself -- because that guy is going to get lazy?