Going into the 2009 NBA Draft, where European prodigy Ricky Rubio would eventually land ranked as arguably the most intriguing story line of the entire night; Blake Griffin going first overall was already set in stone. I consider myself a basketball junkie, but had no clue who the kid was outside of various YouTube clips. I’ve since familiarized myself with Double R. The other day I came across a rather intriguing and informative piece on the point guard with Pete Maravich-like handles and so much NBA potential. In Johnathan Givony’s New York Times profile, the following scenarios surround Rubio:
Has he hit his ceiling already?
What was supposed to be his showing out party in last year’s word championships in Turkey actually turned out to be a huge disappointment. Averaging just north of four points and a meager 28% from the field raised eyebrows and even had this freakishly talented floor general admitting he played horribly while taking the entire tournament as a learning experience. What’s weird though is that he and his team are struggling to remain consistent this season.
The impending new collective bargaining agreement
We can all hope the debates over the new CBA do not result in a work stoppage. Even still, one thing basically guaranteed is that it will not be as kind to rookies as it is now. So does he finally honor his NBA contract with the Timberwolves, which would ultimately run through the 2014-15 season? If that happens and there is no season next year, he cannot return to Europe. Also if he does, he could be leaving quite a bit of money on the table mainly stemming from the fact players three years removed from their draft class can negotiate for as much money as possible for the team holding their rights. Either way, according to CBA expert Larry Coon, Rubio’s salary next year would reflect that of someone like Jared Sullinger’s (who is a sure fire lottery pick, if he leaves Ohio State). Confusing stuff indeed, but the 20-year-old has a very important decision to make once his own season concludes this June. A quick one, at that.
Could he end up in a Knicks, Celtics or Heat uniform?
Minnesota has young talent – most notably Kevin Love – but a source close to Ricky and his family reveal they want him to play for an East Coast team upon signing his rookie contract. The top three choices are New York, Boston and Miami. Beantown has Rajon Rondo, the city’s second best quarterback and a jump shot away from being virtually unstoppable. New York could be a destination, especially if Carmelo lands there. Pending Ray Felton continues to improve under Mike D’Antoni’s system, that could make Rubio’s arrival slightly less fathomable. Plus, what would that do to Amar’e, Melo and Chris Paul’s alleged vow to form their own “big three?”
Miami, however, is the intriguing one. Remember Rubio isn’t exactly helping his trade value at the moment by struggling and the major weakness around his game has been the fact that he is too unselfish. That concern becomes all but alleviated with three players already commanding a bulk of the attempts. Plus, a three man fast break with Rubio, Wade and LeBron is a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey highwire act waiting to happen. That and Miami’s point guard situation isn’t exactly settled. It’s a stretch, but given last summer’s fireworks, certainly not out the real of possibility.
Giovny’s article in its entirety, He’s 20. Is Ricky Rubio’s Fine Future In The Past?, can be read here.