The NBA draft will be upon us soon, and Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings are well on their ways to be among the top 10 prospects of the 2009 NBA draft.
The Timberwolves have the No. 6 pick in the draft, as well as the No. 18 and No. 28. Jennings could be available with their first pick and he has proven that his potential will make him well worth the pick.
Though playing in Rome most likely hurt his chances of being a top three pick, consider his pre-pro career numbers.
As a senior at Oak Hill Academy, Jennings averaged 35.5 points, 7.5 assists, five rebounds, and four steals per game.
In his senior season, Jennings was the Naismith High School Basketball Player of the Year, 2008 Parade Magazine Player of the Year, and 2008 EA Sports Player of the Year.
Before the decision to play in Europe, Jennings was among the nation’s elite selected to play in the McDonald's All American game where he scored 12 points and dished out nine assists.
For high school basketball, these numbers rival any other historical stat line, including “The Chosen One’s”.
As a senior at St. Mary High School, LeBron James averaged 30.0 points, four assists, eight rebounds, and two steals.
Jennings has James beat in points, assists, and steals, though due to his height, LeBron has an edge in rebounds. The question is, can Jennings carry over his game to the NBA level like James did?
Jennings could not pass the Arizona state test for the college he attended, so he was forced to play overseas instead of college, and despite averaging seven points and two assists, playing overseas has really improved his game more than his ego.
As a high school senior, Brandon Jennings was cocky.
With stats like that I would be too.
Brandon Jennings went to a team where virtually every player on that team was the best in their league, so he was forced to be a backup point guard. Going to college would possibly have given him more stats and less hunger, which could have hurt his draft status anyway.
The Jennings of today is a pass-first point guard.
In his last game in Rome, Jennings played for 26 minutes, and had eight points on 2-6 shooting, seven assists, and two steals. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
Jennings has been criticized for not having the stats that typical draft picks need in order to be a top selection.
"They'll see when they come to the workouts," Jennings said. "I'm not worried at all."
Dave-Te' Thomas, an NBA analyst, said that Jennings' biggest change was his unselfishness, and that he is constantly trying to find other players ways to score, making him a pure point guard.
Thomas also illustrated that Jennings and Jrue Holiday were the best point guards in the draft and that he'd take either over Rubio any day of the week.
Seeing Brandon play, he possesses deadly quickness, with inconsistent perimeter shooting, but his dishes, his lay in's, and his durability will show anyone that he is the truth.
How Would Jennings Howl for the T'Wolves?
Jennings would team up with Randy Foye, and most likely would start at the PG spot.
With exceptional passing skills, Al Jefferson will certainly benefit when posting up underneath the basket.
Foye, who is often seen lurking behind the three-point arch, would easily benefit from Jennings’ ball handling skills. Jennings has been known to drive into the paint with explosive quickness, thus drawing all the attention to him, and dishing out to the three-point line.
At only 18 years old, Ricky Rubio is destined for greatness due. Rubio is a pass-first point guard with sticky fingers, a developing mid-range game, and enough swagger to carry any team in the NBA.
Ricky Rubio backed up Jose Calderon and played with NBA starters such as Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, and Marc Gasol, while averaging five points, four rebounds, and three assists.
But when Rubio was guarded by the likes of Kobe Bryant, James, and Dwight Howard on the opposition, he stepped up his game. Despite injuring his wrist against the "redeem team," please consider that Rubio had a line of 8 PTS 3 AST 3 STL in just 18 minutes.
He's only 18? He lacks athleticism and needs to work on his shot, but scouts are pointing to him to be the most dominating point guard for years to come in the NBA simply because of his basketball IQ and hard work ethic.
In averaging only 28 minutes, Ricky Rubio averaged 10.0 PPG 6 APG 2 SPG. The ACB league is regarded by far as the toughest league besides the NBA.
How Would Ricky Rubio Howl?
We've seen Rubio make dishes, but in Minnesota Rubio has a hit or miss chance. But most likely he'll hit when he has players like Love, Jefferson, and Foye to work with.
Ricky Rubio will need time to develop, and some people will question, "Why do you think he'll end up in Minnesota?"
Memphis most likely has the chance to draft him, and they have failed with a Spanish start before—Pau Gasol. He has also verbally stated that he will not play there. Minnesota and Memphis matched up well trading last year so communication shouldn’t be a problem. David Kahn is looking for the best talent with the most potential.
Who I Would Rather Have
After all my research, it's tough to say. Rubio and Jennings are both young, pure point guards. But at the moment, I'm leaning toward Jennings.
He puts up numbers in limited minutes; he's played against the likes of Love, Derrick Rose, and O.J Mayo, and is explosive and more durable than Rubio.
They both have the opportunity to grow, but Jennings is now showing the maturity on and off the court that you desire in a young player. On the other hand, Rubio has shown immaturity with his desire to only play for certain teams in the league.
Jennings is not letting anything get in the way of him playing in the NBA. He'll play anywhere, and he'll play his best.
So if I'm drafting No. 6, and Griffin, Harden, Thabeet, and Hill are gone...
I am proud to announce that the Minnesota Timberwolves select...Brandon Jennings.