Meet the New Guys: Sergio Rodriguez
In the days leading up to the start of training camp, Sixers.com will be introducing you to members of the Sixers’ roster that joined the team this off-season. This particular profile focuses on Sergio Rodriguez.
Getting to Know Sergio:
Signed by the 76ers to a free-agent contract on July 13th, Rodriguez will be returning to the NBA following a five-year stint in the Liga Endesa (ACB League). Playing for Real Madrid, he earned All-Europe Player of the Year honors in both 2014 and 2015, was also selected the Euroleague MVP in 2014, and led his squad to both Euroleague and ACB championships in 2015.
Rodriguez’s first foray into American professional hoops began in 2006, when Phoenix chose him 27th overall in the draft. His rights were immediately sold to Portland, where he played for three years. Rodriguez was dealt to Sacramento the night of the 2009 draft, then flipped to the New York Knicks eight months later, before deciding to continue his career back home in Spain.
In August, Rodriguez fulfilled his second Olympic assignment for the Spanish national team, and despite coming off the bench in all eight of Spain’s games, he was arguably their most effective point guard; the 30-year old accounted for 4.8 assists per game, tied for seventh-best among all Olympians, and emerged to hit the clinching free throws against Australia that put Spain on the Bronze medal podium.
Hailing from the Spanish Canary Islands (which are actually located closer to Africa than they are Spain), Rodriguez proudly sports the nickname “Chacho,” a pronoun frequently used in that region of the country.
“I talked with management and the coach, and felt really comfortable and confident that was the place for me. From the get-go, it was clear Philadelphia had a lot of interest, and I established good rapport with Brett Brown and (Bryan) Colangelo. I just wanted the opportunity to prove myself again in the [United] States, and enjoy basketball.” -- Rodriguez, in a July 30th hoopshype.com interview.
One Good GIF (or two):
We’ll actually go with three GIFs here, all of which are taken from Rodriguez’s Olympic run this summer.
Rodriguez exhibits several impressive attributes in the above clip, with his overall smoothness in the half court perhaps standing out more than anything else. Also on display is his comfort and effectiveness in pick-and-roll sets, as he twice uses screens from Pau Gasol to his advantage. Lastly, Rodriguez shows an ability to finish, going over the top of Gasol’s second pick, which puts Rodriguez in position for a clutch, go-ahead free throw line floater.
This second GIF hopefully provides a sense of the type of passing ability that Rodriguez possesses. Throughout his career, whether in the NBA or Liga ACB, Rodriguez has proven to be a dependable set-up man. Last season for Real Madrid, he produced 5.9 assists in 23.9 minutes per game, the highest average of his career. During Rodriguez’s four years in Portland, Sacramento, and New York, he generated a per 36-minute assist rate of 8.0
When it comes to pushing tempo and getting the ball up the floor, Rodriguez has proven he can get the job done, as evidenced by the above sequence. Here, in this sequence from Spain’s convincing Olympic quarterfinal victory over Spain, Rodriguez’s defense (he strips the ball from Thomas Huertel) helps him initiate a successful break.
Brett Brown Breakdown:
“Look at his resume, look at his history. Bronze medal. A few years back, Euroleague MVP. The last few years, comes off a bench, accepts a role, even in the ACB in Spain. He is an elite passer. He might end up being our best pick-and-roll player. He can make a shot. We need to grow his defense, help educate him on what the NBA defensive schemes look like. I think the fans have to look at him as a 30-year old veteran, highly-credentialed European player that I’m really excited to coach.” -- Brown, during his September 15th pre-season media luncheon.