I'll admit that I haven't been keeping up on who is in or out of this year's NBA Draft until today, when I saw news from DraftExpress that Ricky Rubio will likely put his name on the list.
There is still the matter of his contract buyout among other things, but having Rubio's chances of making to the NBA next season increase dramatically changes my thoughts on what the Warriors should do this offseason.
To start, take a look at the teams ahead of the Warriors in the lottery: Kings, Wizards, Clippers, Thunder, Timberwolves, and possibly the Raptors. Of course, the ping pong balls could fall any direction, but in general these are the teams competing with the Warriors for slots.
Of these teams, only the Kings and the Timberwolves could really use a point guard. The Wizards have Agent Zero, the Clippers have Baron Davis, the Thunder have Russel Westbrook (though they may opt to use him as a shooting guard; Rubio on that team would be scary), and the Raptors have Jose Calderon.
Should the Kings wind up with the first pick, they would likely take Blake Griffin. There is a chance they would opt for Rubio because they already have Jason Thompson, but consensus right now says that Griffin will be picked first.
The Timberwolves don't really have much to bargain with but are in desperate need of someone like Rubio.
The thought process now turns to whether the Warriors actually need a point guard. Don Nelson has stated publicly Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson are the starting backcourt for the Warriors next season. I don't really have a problem with that lineup, but the thought of a Rubio-Ellis backcourt is very alluring.
The idea of having Jackson play shooting guard is so he can take some of the ball-handling responsibilities from Ellis, and defend larger guards.
Rubio is known for his defense, and although he is only an inch taller than Ellis, I think he has the defensive anticipation of a Baron Davis, which allows the Warriors to ignite the fast break. He is also a great ball-handler and assist-man, and really only struggles with a perimeter shot, which is an area the Warriors thrive (see Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Morrow).
Should the Warriors draft Rubio, a potential lineup would look like: Rubio, Ellis, Jackson, Randolph, and Biedrins. The bench rotation is hard to predict because many pieces would probably need to be traded to move up in the draft.
One thing to note about the Warriors possible attempt at Rubio is to take a look at his agent, Dan Fegan. This name should be all too familiar to Warriors' fans because Fegan is also the agent of Al Harrington, Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy. I think it's safe to say Fegan will do everything in his power to keep Rubio away from the Warriors.
I'm not saying the Warriors should definitely try to get Rubio, I'm just saying the thought of it is exciting. Next season for the Warriors will be exciting no matter what since we will see more of Anthony Randolph and his NBA progression.
Rubio will be a great pickup for whatever team lands him and I look forward to watching him play against the other elite players in the game.
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