Really all you see streaking up the court is the hair. At least, it’s the first thing you notice. And to many, they see the hair, the flash and the crafty plays and they see someone else. Something bigger. They see something that makes them nickname this guy LaPistola. That’s right, the Spanish Pistol Pete, Ricky Rubio.
Rubio dashes across halfcourt and busts out his signature play, the fake-behind-the-back-wrap-around. It’s truly a fantastic play that not only brings you to your feet and makes you start clapping out of pure reaction, but also a slick play that helped score two points. But best of all, it’s sexy. It’s flashy. It just looks awesome. And because of plays like that, we’re lured into this young prospect and we don’t even really know why. We watch the mixtapes with the no-look lobs, the between-the-legs dishes and the behind-the-back-wrap-arounds. For the same reason people like And 1 Mixtapes, they like Ricky Rubio. He epitomizes the beauty of basketball. Nothing showcases how breathtaking the game can be like a perfectly executed pass. And because of this, we’ve fallen for this guy, yet we don’t really even know anything about him.
Henry Abbott had a tremendous breakdown of Ricky Rubio this week and it really hit my brain hard. Why are we all so high on this guy? Myself definitely included.
Driving home from the draft lottery late Tuesday I was a little overwhelmed by one thought:
I don’t know enough about Ricky Rubio. I must have heard 100 smart people sing his praises that night. He’s the one player with real buzz. A guard who is almost unassailed as the second best prospect in the 2009 NBA draft.
But what does he do? What are his NBA skills? On what basis do we believe he’s a truly special basketball player? Is he really good enough that he can be picked high without even working out against his contemporaries? What could I see Ricky Rubio do that would make clear how it is he’s a better bet than Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Darren Collison, Patrick Mills, Nick Calathes, Eric Maynor, Sergio Llull, A.J. Price, Nando de Colo and the like?
At the lottery, everybody said the same admiring things about his feel for the game, handle, vision, leadership … but sometimes these ideas leap from mind to mind without ever touching ground. I found myself looking around the room and wondering: How much have you even seen Rubio play? What kind of vetting has he had?
Read Henry’s breakdown. He’s basically saying everything I’m saying here, but much better. So if you want to just open a new tab and read Henry’s article and never read another word of this, I won’t be offended. Seriously, go right ahead. But today, Chad Ford dropped this little nugget that’s sure to get people chattering:
“Speaking of Rubio, I encountered a number of NBA GMs and scouts this week who were pretty skeptical about Rubio’s NBA future. They see him as an average athlete who can’t shoot well and who is turnover prone, and wonder aloud why he’s ranked so high.
A few GMs said Rubio isn’t in their top five. While I’ve heard doubts expressed before, the skepticism was expressed much more strongly this week by more execs. I’m going to keep digging. Maybe Henry Abbott struck a chord with his TrueHoop post on Rubio.
In any case, if Memphis and Oklahoma City decide against Rubio and don’t trade either of their picks to a team that wants to move up to get him, it’s hard to see the Sacramento Kings passing on Rubio at No. 4.”
Well then. You have to wonder how much of this is posturing. Maybe Donnie Walsh is saying this because he’s praying Rubio will drop all the way down to him. Maybe Geoff Petrie is running around saying, “Nah, he’s not that good. Seriously guys, he can’t even shoot!” but is lighting Spanish vigils each night before he goes to bed. You can never tell with these guys. They’re all playing the game and they all want their guy. So it may mean nothing and in fact, it probably does mean nothing. Keep Reading…