Ricky Rubio: Risk vs. Reward

Greg EvansCorrespondent IApril 21, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 12:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain calls a play while taking on China in the preliminary round basketball game held at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium during Day 4 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 12, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ricky Rubio's agent announced yesterday that Rubio would be entering the 2009 NBA Draft, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Rubio has been projected as the No. 2 pick all season, but the question must be asked: Is the risk worth it?

Rubio is currently playing with DKV Joventut of Spain, in a league that he has been playing in since he was 16. He has started two of five games with DKV. In his almost 22 minutes per game, Rubio has averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 assists.

Arguably, Rubio first jumped into the NBA spotlight during the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he ran the Spanish team. Against the world's best, Rubio averaged 4.8 points, three assists, and two turnovers. While his numbers may not jump off the page, the fact that he was helping shut down some of the world's best PGs shocked American fans.

As a point guard, Rubio has great court vision and has drawn comparisons to many NBA greats. He still has work to do on his jump shot, but many consider his play making ability to be worth any potential draw backs.

There are a few areas of concern when it comes to the young Rubio. He is currently committed to his Euroleague team, DKV Joventut, and NBA teams are only allowed to pay international teams $500,000 in compensation for players, according to Ford. In order to break his contract, Rubio would likely have to help compensate DKV with his own money.

Any player who is drafted in the top five is supposed to be a future "franchise" player. Whether that is a Kevin Durant, who can drop 25-plus points on any given night, or a Chris Paul, who just by joining a team can make the players around him better, these players are called to put the team on their backs.

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What happens when that "franchise savior" isn't allowed to come overseas because of contract disputes in his home country?

The international leagues are seen as another developmental league for many league executives. They keep players, such as Serge Ibaka and, previously, Mehmet Okur with their international team in order to continue their development.

In the case of Rubio, the runner up in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes doesn't want to wait a year for their franchise changing player.

Another question about Rubio is whether or not he can compete with the NBA's best PGs for an entire season. How does he match up against the Chris Pauls, Steve Nashs, and Tony Parkers?

Yes, he was able to play with them for eight games during the Olympics, but what about a full NBA season?

Ricky Rubio will be a solid player for whoever gets the second pick. However, the thought of him not starting when the 2009-2010 season starts may be enough for teams to overlook him.

*Stats from nbcolympics.com, euroleague.net, and ESPN.com

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