Rubio Is a Gamble Worth Taking

Corey TaylorCorrespondent IJune 21, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 20:  Ricard Rubio #6 of Spain falls during play in the men's basketball quarterfinal game against Croatia at the Olympic Basketball Gymnasium during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Over the past couple weeks I have watched Rubio take a beating. People are saying the kid is going to be a huge flop, saying he is a waste of time. I am here to stand up and defend a player I believe to have a bunch of upside.

The truth is that Rubio is a double-double waiting to happen in the NBA. When Jason Williams was playing at the top of his game for the Sacramento Kings, many GM's wanted him on their teams.

Who wouldn't? Williams knew how to electrify crowds and bring people to their feet. He sold tickets! A flashy pass was expected every time down the floor. It was close to impossible to guard Jason Williams. When you thought you had him cornered, he would just pass the ball through a defenders legs with his excellent basketball IQ for a dunk.

Rubio has everything Jason Williams had. Maybe he doesn't have quite the same scoring ability, but he has everything a team should look for in a starting point guard. Whatever he lacks in his scoring capabilities he gains in his defense.

Rubio has averaged close to five steals per game over the past three years. There goes the idea of him being a defensive liability. At 6'4", Rubio may be the answer to the struggles of stopping Chris Paul.

The greatest asset a 18-year-old can have is being able to be coached. If you think about it like this, he would have just graduated high school here. No one is crowning Rubio as being as good as Dwight Howard and LeBron James, but at 18, you have a chance to mold him into a great player.

I will tell you right now that any team not the Clippers would love to have this kid. Shooting can be worked on, defense cannot be taught. So, his offense will undoubtedly be improved, while his defense is already great.

Jason Kidd was not a great point guard in the NBA for so many years because he was an amazing scorer. He was great because he wasn't selfish and knew when he needed to give the ball up or take it to the hole and get to the free-throw line.

Rubio shows those similarities. He shoots 80 percent from the free-throw line and gets to the free-throw line frequently. That just goes to show how much more important he will become to his team. Being able to get other players in foul trouble is a great way to win games.

You cannot teach the intangibles in basketball, meaning you cannot teach court-vision, mental toughness, maturity, leadership skills, confidence, and so on. Rubio will most likely hesitate the first time he drives into the lane against Dwight Howard, but who wouldn't? Sometimes I feel like Kobe and LeBron do, too.

I will tell every basketball fan right now that if Rubio is able to slip to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the third pick, fans should begin to worry. If Rubio is given the chance to play with such a young and talented team, he will flourish.

We have already seen Kevin Durant begin his rise to being one of the most talented players in the NBA. With Rubio at the point, alley-oops will be given a whole new definition. Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green will also develop their skill much more effectively with a talented player like Rubio on their team.

So, before deciding you want to bring a basketball player down in this draft, look at the skills he has and how old he is. Sure, the numbers may not be amazing, but the kid has all the intangibles that cannot be taught mastered already to be a great player. Being able to work with NBA trainers will just strengthen his shot to make him even more dangerous.

As a huge basketball fan, I am very excited to see what this extra-talented athlete has in store for the NBA this year and for years to come as he develops. I believe he will make my jaw drop in amazement more than just a few times in the upcoming NBA season and will make thousands come to their feet after a spectacular pass that locks some poor defender up.