For those of us who have been anticipating the 2009 NBA Draft, it must be a world-wind of thoughts going through your minds as to who your team should select with there first round pick. It can all boil down to what it really is that your team needs to improve itself for the future.
After watching the Olympics this past summer, I noticed that there was a player that could do things, and make players with the ball that was reminiscent to a player that I had just recently watched footage on from the days of old. Pistol Pete Maravichwas one of the games greatest scorers, ball handler, and entertainers that the game has ever seen. To this day I haven't seen a player that I can honestly say has completely reminded me of the type of player he was. That was until I saw Ricky Rubio play for the Spanish National Team.
Displaying amazing talent and maturity despite his young age, Rubio is commonly regarded as the best European guard prospect since Drazen Petrovic, and as previously mentioned;due to his scoring dominance and creativity, Rubio has been compared to Pete Maravich. Former NBA guard Pepe Sanchez, who at the time played at the point guard position for Spanish ACB League rivals Unicaja Malaga, made this comment in a February 2007 interview for a Euroleague profile on Rubio:
"I think he's a freak of nature — being so young and being so skilled and also so cool all the time. You can see that he knows what he's doing. He's not playing out there with pros based only on his talents. He knows the game and he can only improve. I think he'll be a great player. It all depends on him, but I personally think he's going to be great".
Now the latest news on this Spanish Phenom is; According to Rubio’s agent, Germa’n González, “it is a real possibility” that the Spanish point guard will not declare for the upcoming 2009 NBA Draft.
The following is rough English translation, as González told to Marca, the Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper:
“We do not want it to go like other players who have left very high in the Draft and soon they do not play. The Americans have become crazy to have players there as soon as possible. The decisions will be taken based on which the European market also provides.”
While González also said Rubio’s decision to remain in Europe is not final, Rubio’s € 6 million ($8.4 million USD) buyout could eventually cause him to stay. A complex renegotiation with DKV Joventut needs to occur in order to reduce the high costs (higher than even the salary of a no. 1 selection) of rescission.
Despite talks of being a Top 5 pick in June, worries about Rubio’s NBA-readiness will likely cause him to forgo the NBA for at least another year.
This is the type of character the NBA needs! Listen to what this rising star had to say in his very first interview held in early June 2008:
During which he criticized what he and many other observers saw as the NBA's emphasis on individual play and blamed poor team play for the recent struggles of the US national team, saying in his native Catalan, "Basketball isn't one-on-one. It's five-on-five, plus the bench."
He then switched to English, commenting on subjects such as his competitive nature — "If I'm losing, I'm going to do everything possible to win. I do the same thing on the court" — and how he practiced moves that he saw in videos of Maravich — "If I can do some magic, I do it."
Here are some highlights of Ricky Rubio: