Seven Reasons Why Ricky Rubio Would Be a Great Fit for the Toronto Raptors

Justin BoninAnalyst IFebruary 6, 2011

Seven Reasons Why Ricky Rubio Would Be a Great Fit for the Toronto Raptors

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    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.
    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    There has been quite a bit of confusion over the whole situation with Ricky Rubio, and a lot of people are wondering what happened/is happening with him, when he could possible be coming to the NBA, and then of course, once he arrives, where he will play. 

    Well, here are the answers to those questions to the best of my knowledge.  According to what I have read, the earliest he could come to the NBA is the 2011/2012 season, because he has a buyout option in his current contract with FC Barcelona.    

    However, if he were to decide to come over and play in the NBA next season, it would have to be with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it is still unknown whether or not he actually wants to play in Minnesota. 

    With this being the case, it is quite likely that Minnesota will try to trade him while his value is still high.  If this happens, I suggest that the Raptors make a strong push to acquire him, if the price is right. 

    However, Rubio could also wait another two years, which brings us to the 2012/2013 season, by which point he would become a free agent and would be free to undergo negotiations with teams that are not the called the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Therefore, if we would like to wait two more years we could and should make ourselves one of those teams.

Clarifying the Introduction

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Ricky Rubio (R) #9 of the FC Barcelona duels  for a ball against Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA Europe Live match between Los Angeles Lakers and Regal FC Barcelona at the at Palau Blaugrana on Octo
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Okay, so I hope you guys understood everything from the first slide. It is a lot of information to take in at one time, and honestly, there is still a lot more to it than what I explained, I just didn’t want to draw it out too long, so nonetheless, following this is my little disclaimer and then I will get started.

    Alright, since I am unsure as to whether or not all of this will actually happen, and I do not know exactly what Minnesota would be asking for in return if they were to trade him next year, I haven’t really spent too much time thinking about what we may have to offer the T-Wolves in exchange for Rubio’s services; however, what I have been doing is taking the time to think about the top seven reasons why I think Rubio would be a great fit for the Raps.

    So here they are, in no real specific order...

7. He Wants To Play on the East Coast

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    MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 22:  Ricky Rubio of Spain watches on during a friendly basketball game between Spain and the USA at La Caja Magica on August 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Apparently, Ricky Rubio has stated that he would like to play on the East Coast, and I have even heard that he has expressed interest in coming to Toronto. 

    This is excellent news for us, because it means that we already have our foot in the door. When you consider the other six reasons I am going to mention, I think we would have a pretty good chance of landing him either this coming season via trade with Minnesota or the year after that by signing him as a free agent.


6. Point Guard of the Future

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  NBA Commissioner David Stern poses for a photograph with the fifth overall draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves,  Ricky Rubio during the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. N
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Now, I know we already have Jerryd Bayless, who has been labeled as our possible point guard of the future, but, Rubio does have some great potential.  He hasn’t really been able to live up to the huge amount of hype he had received; however, in his defence, he has been being examined through a very critical lens, which tends to focus on the wrong areas of his game.

    Rubio is the definition of pass first point guard, and that is exactly how he plays.  He is committed to his team, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to win with little if any concern for individual stats.  He plays a much more team based game than most point guards in the NBA today. 

    Because of this, it is hard to rate his play by simply looking at his statistics.  Much like Reggie Evans, he is the type of player who does the small things that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheets, yet they add up and certainly pay off big in the long run. 

    Much as Reggie Evans injects the Raptors with energy, Ricky Rubio offers a high basketball I.Q combined with superb court vision and awareness both on offense and defence.

5. He Plays Defence

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    BEIJING - AUGUST 12:  (R-L) Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain attempts to steal the ball from Chen Jianghua #4 of China in the preliminary basketball game held at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium during Day 4 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 12,
    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Speaking of defence, because of his high Basketball I.Q and his above average length at his position, he is more than able to shut down opposing point guards. 

    Ricky Rubio is 6’4" and has a wingspan of 6’9”.  He understands the game very well, and he is great at reading plays and anticipating what others team will do on offense.  This makes it much easier for him to interrupt plays and often times come up with the steal.   

    Furthermore, defence is one area that has notoriously been a problem for the Raptors. If they plan on contending at some point in the near future, it is necessary that they have a good defensive PG to compete with teams like the Celtics and Bulls, who have superstar guards Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose.

    ** Rubio has won at least one defensive award while playing in Europe, and he has also led his league in steals on at least one occasion.   


4. International Flavour

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 22: Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors shoots a jump shot during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 22, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    I use this every time I am considering reasons why any international player should come to Toronto; however, it is with good reason.  Toronto is a very multicultural city.  This really helps international players by facilitating the transition period and also by helping them feel at home in a foreign country.  

    This “International flavour” also applies to the team itself.  The Toronto Raptors are a very diverse team with six international players, good enough for tops in the league.  This would make the transition process on and off the court much easier for Rubio because there are six other guys who have experienced the same thing and will be able to help him through it.        

3. Jose Calderon

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 22:  Jose Calderon #8 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 22, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Of the six international players I mentioned in the last slide, the most important one would have to be Jose Calderon.  Calderon would certainly be a key part of our effort to convince Rubio to come to Toronto.  Furthermore, I think Calderon has a lot to offer his fellow Spaniard as he would serve as a mentor for him and guide him both on and off the court. 

    Calderon is more than capable of running the Toronto offense, and here’s hoping that he can help Rubio develop into the same type of player.  In addition, Calderon is an excellent jump shooter, particularly from behind the three-point line, which is the area of greatest weakness for Rubio.  So hopefully, Calderon would help him work on this, and also, between Calderon and Barbosa, they could even help Rubio improve when it comes to his ability successfully finish at the basket.  

    However, in the end, this would all depend on how willing Jose Calderon is to once again share/surrender the starting point guard job in Toronto, as well as how willing Rubio would be to either share the starting job with Calderon or to split minutes with him as his backup. 

    However, one quality that I have seen in both of these men is their willingness to take a back seat if it gives the team a better chance to win.  Jose did this for several years without any complaints, and I think Rubio would do the same until it comes time for him to take over.  


2. He Understands the Game

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    BEIJING - AUGUST 10:  Theodoros Papaloukas #4 of Greece drives on Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain 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
    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    As I have stressed throughout this entire article, Ricky Rubio possess superb court vision and he has a very high basketball I.Q.  As a result, he will undoubtedly make everyone around him better.   

    His ability to find the open man and the open passing lane ranks up there with the best of them.  As a result, he has drawn comparisons to NBA greats such as “Pistol” Pete Maravich as well as current pure point guard stars like Steve Nash.   

    It takes a lot to be compared to guys like Pistol Pete and Steve Nash; however, in this case, I feel that Rubio is deserving of the comparisons.  It will undoubtedly take a year or two for him to adjust to the league, but once all is said and done, I think he will end up finishing his career à la Steve Nash: an underrated player throughout the beginning of his career, but he will certainly finished strong near the end of it, like Nash is doing right now. 

    So, here’s hoping he is still a Raptor when that happens.


1. He Wants to Win and He Knows How to Do It

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    MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 22:  Ricky Rubio of Spain watches on during a friendly basketball game between Spain and the USA at La Caja Magica on August 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Ricky Rubio knows how to win.  He was a member of the gold medal Spanish National team in the FIBA Europe under 16 championship in 2006, he won the Euro Cup championship with Joventut in 2008 and he also won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

    Rubio wants to win and he wants to play with the best players in the world.  This is why I know that he will end up in the NBA sooner rather than later. 

    Also, it is important to note that the Raptors are not a team with an undisputed star that we can depend on game in and game out to put the team on his shoulders and get the win for us.  Instead, we have several guys who work together to get the job done, and although they may not each be at their best every game, they are starting to learn how to compensate for each other when someone else is struggling.

    Although it has not translated into many wins this season, I think it will soon enough. 

    The Raptors will remain like this for years to come, and Rubio’s team first mentality and his ability to make everyone on the team play better go perfectly with the way this team functions.      

Final Thoughts

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    BEIJING - AUGUST 24:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain moves against the defense of Chris Bosh #12 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
    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    In the end, I think Ricky Rubio would be a great addition to our team, especially if we are able to get him for cheap.  I think he is extremely un-selfish, especially considering how much this is evident in the way he plays the game.  Furthermore, I don’t think he would mind splitting time with Jose and I feel he would fit in very well with the team’s chemistry. 

    Also, I completely disagree with the way he has sometimes been portrayed as a selfish and cocky player who refused to play for a team like Minnesota because he wanted to be drafted by a big market team like LA or New York.  There is much more to his decision, such as his contractual issues with his former team, and he also needed to consider what was best for him and his family. 

    Off the court, I see Ricky Rubio being a very loyal and humble person, such as Jose Calderon (not only because they are both from Spain, I actually see a lot of similarities between the two that go far beyond their common nationality), or Steve Nash, to whom he has also drawn comparisons on the court.

    If we were to acquire Ricky Rubio, we would have a solid young team with lots of potential at each position (assuming we draft a bright young SF with our lottery pick in this year’s draft).  So, all we will have to do after that is to wait and hope that all of that potential will translate into success.

    Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment. 


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