As Tom Halzack reported over at CelticsBlog Wednesday, the C’s are in serious talks to acquire Rudy Fernandez from the Blazers. If this happens, we’ll have plenty of time analyze all the basketball issues Rudy presents—where he fits in the rotation, his strengths and weaknesses on both ends, whether he can play small forward even a little bit, etc.
Acquiring Fernandez without giving up a rotation player is a good basketball move. We can discuss that later.
There’s another comparatively minor reason I’m rooting for Boston to nab Rudy: It would be nice for the C’s to have an international player that might actually play some meaningful minutes.
At the end of the 2009 season, the blog Interbasket concluded the C’s had been the least internationally diverse team in the NBA over the five prior seasons. This doesn’t really concern me; I care about winning, and I’m certain the C’s front office would field a team of 15 non-American players if they believed that was the best roster they could build. Heck, they drafted Semih Erden in 2008, and he’ll make the team this season.
In other words: The lack of international Celtics doesn’t bother me as long as I know the team holds no silly bias against international players—and the Celtics don’t. Interbasket used the word “xenophobic” to describe the C’s, but that’s obviously going way too far, especially considering the C’s had already drafted Erden by the time Interbasket undertook its study.
Still: I think it’d be kind of cool to have an international player logging significant rotation minutes, something I don’t think Erden is ready to do. I generally enjoy when players bring a new culture, language and style of play, and Rudy Fernandez would bring all of that to a team that has lacked any international flavor since (gulp) Michael Olowokandi and Wally Szczerbiak (born in Spain!) left town.
How un-diverse have the C’s been lately?
• Only three teams in the league went through all of 2010 without giving a single minute to an international player: Boston, Indiana and the Clippers.
• Both the Pacers and Clips had international players log NBA minutes in 2009, meaning Boston is the only team in the league to go the last two seasons without a non-American guy seeing any court time.
The C’s have not had an international player on their active NBA roster since 2007.
Will Rudy help Erden break the drought?
Let me repeat this so no one can possibly misunderstand: I make no moral judgment against the C’s for not signing any international players over the last few years. The team has made the Finals in two of the last three seasons, so you can’t take issue with how the front office has decided to build the team.
I just think it would be kind of cool to have a foreign guy playing a key role.