Ricky Rubio: He's No Rudy Fernandez

Ray KongContributor IJune 10, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 10:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain drives on Dimitrios Diamantidis #13 of Greece during the day 2 preliminary game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 10, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

At the tender age of 18, he's listed at 6'3" and 180 pounds.

He hails from Spain and is highly regarded as an international basketball phenomenon.

Scouts all around the world have him as the best point guard in this year's draft. Many analysts have even compared him to All-Star players, such as Steve Nash and Jason Kidd.

This young man is Ricky Rubio, and he's currently creating the hottest buzz in the NBA.

Rubio began his professional basketball career in 2005, becoming the youngest player ever to play in the Spanish ACB League.

He has been named FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008. He was selected to the All-Spanish ACB League Team in 2008, and was voted as Spanish ACB League Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

But, despite all his accomplishments, I'm here to clarify one thing—he's no Rudy Fernandez!

I'm a huge fan of Fernandez.

So, my first inclination after hearing about Rubio was to see for myself as to why there's so much hype surrounding this guy.

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You may correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll be the first to tag bust potential on Rubio.

Yes, he's quick and he has great ball-handling skills, but there are some key weaknesses in Rubio's game that will pose major challenges during his transition into the NBA.

First of all, he's undersized.

And by that, I mean he's 6'3" and weighs only 180 pounds.

Other 6'3" point guards in the NBA include Russell Westbrook at 187 pounds, Derrick Rose at 190 pounds, Deron Williams at 207 pounds, and Baron Davis at 215 pounds. 

The beating he'll receive night after night, as he attempts to drive on NBA big men, will become a significant deterrent to one important component of his game—the dribble penetration.

You may be thinking, what about Steve Nash?

He's 6'3" and is listed as only 178 pounds.

Nash is a unique player in that he has speed, agility, ball-handling skills, and a consistent perimeter game. During the 2008-2009 season, he shot 50.3 percent from the field, 43.9 percent from three-point, and also had an assist to turnover ratio that was roughly three to one.

Rubio is a little more unpredictable.  

During his five games for the Euroleague, he averaged 2.4 ppg, shooting 30 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point, and his assist to turnover ratio was one to one.

He also lacks on the defense end, tending to gamble for the steal. After watching some highlights of his previous games, I can see a very distinct difference between the officiating in European basketball and the NBA.

Simply put, those reach-ins will not be tolerated.

While playing for the Spanish ACB League, Rubio averaged 10 ppg, shooting 39.1 percent from the field, 42.3 percent from three-point, and his assist to turnover ratio was two to one. Although an improvement, these numbers aren't spectacular.

Overall, I think he's a decent guard with some potential to become a quality player when playing for a great organization. My only concerns are his tendency to showboat on fast breaks and his mediocre assist to turnover ratio.

He shined during his years in Europe, but can he create the same spark amongst a galaxy of superstars?


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