If You Pass on Ricky Rubio, You Will Be Sorry

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst IJune 23, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 24:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain lays the ball up past Dwight Howard #11 of the United States 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

We're barely scratching the surface of a soul-crushing summer of no basketball. For more advice on how to get over it, click here.

But one of the things that has me occupied until Thursday, is the NBA Draft. I love reading all the scuttlebutt, even if I've read more contradicting reports than in Project Blue Book.

The latest trend has the young Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio falling down the draft boards, as many teams are put of by his large buyout, his poor workouts and his shady demands.

No matter what happens on Thursday, I'm going to lay down some truth for you, right here right now, on this 23rd day of June, in the year of our Lord 2009.

If you pass on Ricky Rubio, you will be sorry.

You will be sorry in April of 2010, when he is awarded the Rookie of the Year. You will be sorry in Feb. 2012, when he is an All-Star. You will be sorry in the years 2013 to 2020, when he will be the point guard on a team that wins at least two titles in that span.

You heard it here first. Ricky Rubio will be one of those once-in-a-generation Point Guards, and by 2012, him and Chris Paul will make the Paul/Deron Williams comparisons look plain silly.

Some skeptics claim that Ricky Rubio is another Kimbo Slice, that is, another You Tube sensation that will fall flat when exposed to the big boys' league.

If you believe that, you're forgetting one thing.

He did it on the biggest stage, with the biggest of boys, in the 2008 Olympics. Playing against Kobe, D-Wade, LeBron and co., all of whom were hungry for a gold medal, Rubio got six points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. I would say that's a pretty impressive all-around effort.

And he was 17 years old.


When I was 17, I thought a pick and roll involved something that came out of my nose and the underside of a desk.

That's what people don't realize. LeBron James wasn't playing against that sort of competition at 17. You could argue that he could have, and I would agree with you, but if we're starting to compare Rubio's impact with LeBron's, then you're starting to see my point.

Another negative thing coming out about Rubio is poor workouts. The Sacramento Kings worked him out the other day, and were less than overwhelmed with his performance.

The only problem with that is, they worked him out by himself, no one else.

So let me get this straight. You're going to work out the most creative passer since Steve Nash or Jason Kidd, but you're not going to give him anyone to throw to?

What is he doing? Shooting open jumpers and running suicides?

And this and this alone might cause the Kings to bypass him. And you wonder how they fell so fast from the league's elite.

The final, and most annoying thing, is that he has said through his agent that he doesn't want to play for some teams, Memphis, the owner of the no. 2 pick being one of them.

It's understandable to feel bitterness towards and unproven player making demands like that, but it's equally understandable that he feels this way.

Fellow Spaniards Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon and others have gone from Euro teams to poorly-run franchises such as the Grizzlies. They've no doubt told Rubio horror stories about what this can do to a career, as Pau Gasol's half-decade of indifference followed by his string of brilliance with the Lakers has shown us.

Keep this in mind: Rubio is facing a $6 million buyout from his Spanish team to come and play in the NBA. The team that drafts him can only chip in $500,000 to that, so the rest comes out of his pocket.

If Rubio is going to make such a significant investment to play in a foreign land, you damn well better be sure he's going to make sure he isn't tossed into a war zone like Memphis, Sacramento, or any of the other famous dysfunctional team.

So I'll repeat my warning to any team thinking of passing up on Rubio (except for the Clippers, because the thought of Rubio in a Clips jersey haunts my darkest nightmares): if you do you'll be sorry.

You'll be missing out on a once in a generation point guard talent, and with guards like Paul, Rondo, Parker, Williams, Rose and others coming into your prime, it's becoming increasingly evident that the next generation of NBA champions need to have a strong leader.

Draft Rubio, or else plan to watch the banners go up in another stadium.