March 24, 2011
Cook's addition gave Valencia a versatile and talented three guard rotation of him, Rafa Martinez and Nando De Colo. Valencia go only three deep in the backcourt, as opposed to most rival teams; young prospect Jose Simeon is the de facto fourth option, yet he does not play every game, and averages only 7 minutes a contest. (In the event of emergency, Valencia also called up career minor leaguer David Navarro to serve as a last ditched resort open at two guard. But he should not be expected to play.) Valencia might not have a trustworthy fourth option at the guard spots, but they also don't need one. Cook is one of the finest pure points around, averaging 7.2 points and 5.5 assists in 29 minutes per game, constantly pressuring the defense, looking for seams, and hitting cutters. He is shooting less than 40% for the season, overdribbles at times, and any improvements seen in his jumpshot in the last few years seem to have taken a backwards step this season, but his defense has improved, and his intangibles ever present. Cook's presence has moved De Colo into more of a combo guard role, and less of a pure point guard one. It's not working out optimally - De Colo needs the ball in his hands in order to be successful with his isolation scoring, which is harder to do with Cook around, and De Colo's impact without the ball is limited by his sub 30% three point shooting. Nevertheless, it's still an incredibly talented duo capable of carving up defense. And there are no such cohesion problems with Martinez, a highly capable all-around player, noted most for tough defense and outside shooting, but also able to make some plays, and get to the rim and finish, despite his relatively small size.
April 15, 2010
- Rafa Martinez
6'3 Spanish scoring guard Martinez is averaging 11.7 points per game for Valencia in the Eurocup, alongside 13.8 points per game in the ACB. He has already agreed to sign for Barcelona next season, presumably to back up Juan Carlos Navarro. It is not immediately obvious who he will replace, but it looks like that it will be Gianluca Basile, the Italian 3 point specialist who's on the wrong side of 34. Let me tell you that Navarro, Martinez, Ricky Rubio and Jaka Lakovic is one hell of a backcourt, even if Rubio is the tallest person in it.