A Devestated Memphis Grizzlies Fan's Case for Drafting Ricky Rubio

Adrian VCorrespondent IMay 23, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 24:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain reacts after the United States won 118-107 in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Memphis Grizzlies' ticket sales over the last few years have been bad, very bad. Among the youngest teams in the NBA, the Grizzlies just cannot win games and get fans to come watch them play.

It is difficult to bring big name players to Memphis. It is a small market and players are not going to want to play for a losing small market team. Who wants to play in an empty arena anyway? 

For most of their "rebuilding," they depend on the draft, but unfortunately, the draft has not been kind to them since moving to Memphis. The Grizzly faithful always have the same assumptions year after year after year.

There is a lottery curse on Memphis!

The lottery is rigged!

David Stern hates the Grizzlies!

Same old story every year and the Grizzlies continue to have miserable 20-win seasons with no signs of big changes on the win and loss columns.

This year, Grizzlies fans saw something different than usual. As watching a big screen TV in a crowded Buffalo Wild Wings, Grizzlies fans were, as always, expecting the worse.

The lottery begins, no surprises yet and all the worst possible scenarios are gone for the Grizzlies. The No. 6 pick fans expect to get, goes up. Minnesota Timberwolves. There is a cheer and a sigh of relief. Finally, a top three pick for a devastated fan base and franchise.

The top three picks begin. The third pick goes to Oklahoma City. Every Grizzlies fan is finally dreaming, thinking this is finally the year they get the No. 1. The card for the second pick goes up, Memphis Grizzlies. There are boos heard but there is satisfaction and happiness for every Grizzlies fan who has said the lottery was rigged over the past few years.

Now the actual draft process begins. Blake Griffin will be gone, in fact, Los Angeles Clippers' owner, Donald Sterling, said flat out, "Griffin is our pick."

That leaves the Grizzlies with two real possibilities at the No. 2 pick, Ricky Rubio and Hasheem Thabeet.

Rubio is an ultra smart, high IQ, young point guard who has been playing professionally since he was 14 years old! There was an article published about him in very popular American basketball magazine, Slam, when he had just turned 16. There have not been many European players with the hype Rubio has had in the last few years.

Thabeet stands tall at 7'3" but has shown some great athleticism for his size and is beginning to develop a five to 10-foot jump shot. Thabeet was second in the country in shots blocked per game standing only behind two time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Jarvis Vernado of Mississippi State.

This was supposed to be Rubio's draft until Blake Griffin had his historic sophomore season, but to most draft analysts, Rubio is still the best player available after Griffin.

People have accused me of thinking too highly of Rubio, but Rubio is still a prospect that is too much to look past.

I know the Grizzlies have Mike Conley Jr. and I am very aware of the great way he ended last season. I still think Conley will be a very productive NBA player, but he will have a Mike Bibby type of career. Certainly a solid player, but will never become the star people thought he would be on draft night.

Rubio is 18, the backup point guard for the second best National team in the world behind the powerful U.S. His potential is unlimited and has already received great praise from stars such as Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul after starting for the injured Jose Calderon in the gold medal game in the Olympics.

Rubio would be a project player once he is drafted, (I do not think anyone is arguing that he will not) but Rubio’s basketball IQ, court vision, and defensive intensity will eventually make him a full time starter once he adjusts.

I do not have a huge problem with the Grizzlies drafting Thabeet, but drafting him at No. 2 is excessively high for a slow big man with a limited offense. His defense would help the Grizzlies, who have been ranked near the bottom of the lead in points in the paint given up.

A player like Thabeet can be found elsewhere. Players like Samuel Dalenbert, who Thabeet is often compared to, could be available over the off-season. If anything, the Grizzlies should worry about getting a consistent low post scorer.

That is where Conley comes into play. Conley’s trade value is very high right now after the way he played at the end of the season and several teams looking for a point guard will probably be interested in Conley if Rubio ends up being the drafted player at No. 2.

This is nothing against Conley, like I said. The end of his sophomore NBA season was something that certainly put me on his bandwagon but it is not often a young prospect like Rubio comes up.


So the second pick in the NBA draft should make me feel excited of the possible outcome, right?


Now that the Grizzlies finally have a top three pick, I should feel completely confident that the Grizzlies management will take advantage of this opportunity, right?




Ever since General Manager Chris Wallace has taken the job, every rumor and every good thing that comes out of the Grizzlies organization brings a fear to the fans. Somehow, someway, the Grizzlies management will mess it up.


My trust for the management has gone up since the trade for OJ Mayo in last years draft, but I am always spectacle about every move the Grizzlies’ front office makes.


The Grizzlies are loaded with talent, with potential all-stars in Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo. Looking at Grizzlies message boards and blogs, it seems like everyone is on the Ricky Rubio bandwagon and wanting to stay away from Thabeet.


Grizzlies’ tickets for next year are already going up with the announcement of having the No. 2 pick. Do you think the fans want to watch a tall defensive stopper with a limited offense or a smart, flashy point guard?


Drafting anyone but Rubio with the No. 2 pick would be heartbreaking for an already devastated fan base.