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Alex Ruoff: Friend or Foe?

I have been staring at Alex Ruoff's career stat sheet for about the last hour, and besides becoming dizzy for a short time, have accomplished almost nothing. Why? Because it doesn't make any sense.

Usually, players progress from year one to year four. Or at least they do in some categories. Rarely does a player get worse, though it does happen. Now, get me straight, I am not advocating the thought that Alex Ruoff has gotten worse as a player, but you won't see me advancing the argument that he's gotten better, either.

He scores, yet his shooting percentages aren't great. He passes -- more than last year, yet less than two years ago. He also gets the same amount of rebounds per game, regardless of season. See a lot of progression? I certainly don't, and I really tried, too.

In 2007, Ruoff was a passing machine, dishing out 191 assist on the season, or 5.3 per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio was also a very respectable 2.4. Then, last year, his assists dropped by nearly half, from 5.3 per game down to 2.7 per. His A/T ratio also got considerably worse, nosediving to 1.6. This year is only marginally better. So far, in 2009, Ruoff has averaged 3.4 dimes per game, with an A/T ratio of 1.7.

What's happened?

Well, for one, Ruoff is scoring more, which is usually a good thing. Unfortunately, though, Ruoff's shooting percentages just aren't that great. Last year, he greatly improved on a sub 40% shooting average in 2007, knocking down 47.9% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc. Though, with more pressure on him this year, those stats have dropped to 36.6% from three and 43.7% overall.

His scoring has increased incrementally each year, from 10.3 in 2007 to 13.8 in 2008 and 16.1 this year. That's a good thing, but it's coming at the expense of a lot of other things. Based on the statistics above, that scoring might be better off coming from another player. I really wish I had John Hollinger's ninja-like stat skills to try to pin down Ruoff's effectiveness while on the court -- but I don't. All I have are the basic stats mentioned above, which paint a somewhat unflattering picture.

As a sidekick in 2007, Ruoff was extremely efficient. Double digit points, a lot of assists, very few turnovers, and a great defender. In 2008, when asked to do more, he was able to score, but the downward trend of most every other stat began. Now, in 2009, the scoring is once again up, but the rest of Ruoff's game has flat-lined. With Joe Alexander back, we might have been able to hide those flaws. But with only Alex and Da'Sean as veteran leaders, we need Ruoff to score. I'm just not sure it's worth it.

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