Ricky Rubio: Can He Be the Real Deal in the NBA?

H HContributor IIIJanuary 12, 2012

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  NBA Commissioner David Stern poses for a photograph with the fifth overall draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves,  Ricky Rubio during the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Ricky Rubio has emerged as one of the front-runners in the race for rookie of the year this season. But does Rubio have what it takes to one day be one of the elite players in the NBA, or will he end up being merely a role player?

Rubio is one of the craftiest players in the league and has drawn many comparisons to Pete Maravich. His creative passes and smooth dribbling have been very valuable in raising his popularity throughout the NBA.

Although Rubio does not currently start for the Minnesota Timberwolves, it seems to be only a matter of time before he takes Luke Ridnour’s starting point guard position.

Rubio is averaging 10.2 points (fourth among rookies) to go along with 7.9 assists per game (first among rookies) this season. He is also performing on the defensive end, averaging 1.6 steals per game (third among rookies).

It is obvious that Ricky Rubio is one of the top rookies in the league, but does he have the potential not only to sustain his great play, but also to raise his game to an elite level?

Rubio has the advantage of great height (6’4”) at the point guard position, but he needs to learn to use this height to his advantage more often. He also needs work on his free-throw shooting (only 69 percent on the season) and his ability to get to the line (only 2.9 attempts per game this season). Lastly, Rubio needs to develop his body. Although he is 6’4”, he only weighs 180 pounds and is not as athletic as most point guards in the NBA.

If Ricky Rubio can improve on these aspects of his game and continue to work on his three-point shot, he could very well become an elite player in the NBA.