SF/PF – 6’6, 240lbs – Born 23rd March 1996
6’6 and 240lbs are not the usual sort of measurements you will see at this level. But then, Desi Rodriguez is not the usual sort of player.
A favourable interpretation of his skill set would highlight his versatility. Rodriguez can both face up and back down; while never the best spot-up jump shooter, and even less of one off the dribble, Rodriguez is nevertheless best when facing the basket, driving to the cup and finishing with bankers, runners and the like. He has been adapting to play the perimeter more and more in recent years, and while he does not have a tight handle with which to create space, or use his right hand much at all, Rodriguez takes bumps, works the angles, throws in spin moves and exploits the mid-range areas. Driving curls, shooting on the move and posting to a turnaround jump shot, he finds looks without having blazing straight-line speed, the ability to jump over defenders, or the craft in his handle to shake them.
The less favourable interpretation would be to say that Rodriguez has no calling card at this level. He is not a shooter, nor a handler, nor a transition player, nor a post player, nor an athlete. He is all of these things, a bit, yet when compared to his peers in each role, Rodriguez is none of them enough. In almost always driving left, Rodriguez somewhat negates the variety of the rest of his attack, and while he hits quite a few tough shots, this is also because he takes them.
That same lack of foot speed has always hindered Rodriguez defensively, the end of the floor on which he has never shone. Rodriguez has improved, taking charges better and giving up when beaten less frequently, but he is not naturally well-equipped to shine on this end. He may be well served by learning from Georges Niang, and how he turned a similar style of play/ physical profile into NBA work. But he is already quite a way behind that curve.
– 20th June, 2019
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