Latest News, NBA / Sep 2, 2010 / 8:30 am

Forget Pistol Pete: Ricky Rubio is the next Jason Kidd

For all the hype surrounding Ricky Rubio over the last 4-5 years, I have to admit I’ve only seen him play a good 4-5 times. Between the last Olympics, some random FC Barcelona games on NBA TV, this summer’s exhibition against Team USA, and the World Championship, my exposure to the point guard position’s Next Big Thing has been limited. Even if I wanted to, declaring the 5th pick in the ’09 NBA Draft a bust or a future star right now wouldn’t feel right. So I won’t do that. Not yet.

What I can gauge in that small sample is Rubio’s style of play, and via box scores, I can check his production. And what I can declare right now is that anybody still pushing Rubio as another “Pistol” Pete Maravich or Steve Nash is off-base. If anything, Rubio will be the next Jason Kidd in the NBA.

Rubio is not a scorer. Last season with FC Barcelona he averaged 6.8 points per game. Through the first four games of the World Championship, as a starter for Spain, he’s put up just 4.2 ppg, including Wednesday’s scoreless, 0-for-6 outing against Lebanon. Clearly, there’s nothing Maravichian about those numbers. Pistol dropped over 40 points a night in college, and 24 a night in the pros. Rubio’s highest-scoring game in the Euroleague? Nineteen points. He might rock the long hair and old-school socks and flip full-court underhand passes, but Rubio is not going to suddenly start raining buckets when he gets to the NBA. Scoring is not his calling card.

Neither is shooting. Nash, another long-haired throwback with whom Rubio is often compared, is one of the best shooters the sport has ever seen. He routinely rips off seasons hitting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 90 percent at the line. Rubio does make his free throws at a Nash/Chauncey-like clip, but he shot 35 percent beyond the (closer) Euroleague arc and 38 percent from two-point range last season. He can shoot, but he’s not a shooter.

Instead, Rubio shines in the same areas where J-Kidd has made his Hall of Fame career: Passer, defender, leader, winner.

At 19 years old, Rubio already has the basketball IQ of a grizzled vet and the vision of a single mother. He has almost mastered the art (call it Jaykiddism) of not only knowing when to throw the simple pass and when to please the crowd, but knowing when a crowd-pleasing pass is actually the correct pass at that moment. Rubio averaged a modest 4.0 assists last season, but remember that FIBA rules aren’t as lenient as the NBA when awarding dimes. Rubio did win the “Best Point Guard” award in the Spanish ACB League, the second such honor in his nascent career. In the World Championship he’s averaging 5.7 apg, including a Kidd-like stat line of 8 points, 11 assists and 3 steals against New Zealand.

Defensively, Rubio is solid at man-to-man and a ballhawk in the passing lanes. The ’09 Spanish league DPOY swiped 2.8 balls per game with FC Barcelona last season, and has notched eight steals in four WC games, in just 27 minutes per game.

Rubio doesn’t match Kidd as a rebounder, so don’t expect many triple-doubles when he comes to the NBA. But in terms of being a natural floor leader who protects the ball, who makes the right decisions but will also think outside the box, who can wreak havoc on defense and create buckets on offense, he is built more closely to Kidd than any other PG standard-bearer. He’s also a winner, copping a Euroleague championship in 2010 and working on adding a Worlds gold medal to his European Championship gold and Olympic silver.

For the most part, NBA fans have only caught glimpses of Rubio in FIBA competition, and are still waiting to see him take on the likes of Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Stephen Curry in our more familiar 48-minute, night-after-night, grind-and-shine parameters of the League. They’re waiting to see if he lives up to the hype. Which I think Rubio can do — however, he’s been getting the wrong kind of hype for so long it will change the level of expectations.

Whenever Rubio finally dons a jersey with the Jerry West silhouette — whether it’s for Minnesota, New York, L.A. or even Dallas — don’t expect to see a Pistol reloaded or another Nashional Treasure. Allow room for the kid to be more like Kidd.

-Follow Austin on Twitter at @AustinBurton206
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  • http://dime.com Jojo & Melo

    I agree with you. Rubio is a J-kidd Type !

  • DaGood

    at last a comparison that makes sense instead of the usual racial stereotyping – how many “next Larry Bird/Dirk Nowitzki” types need to fail before people see that they are comparing physical appearance, not game style and ability?

  • Roc1980

    I haven’t seen much of him either, but the one thing I’ve noticed is he looks bigger than he did in the Olympics.

  • http://tolulope.edun@gmail.com Y.G.

    This kid is nowhere near Jason Kidd. First of all he lacks Kidd’s speed; secondly, his defense is only decent since these guys are playing on this small a$$ FIBA court, so he aint nowhere Kidd based on defense alone. Let’s see how he holds up playing against guys like CP3, Billups, & Nash 3/4 times a week on an NBA size court with a further 3 point line. Also, he needs to quicken that little set shot of his, or else he’ll be leading the NBA in shots be blocked. Thirdly, kidd’s decision making at at 20 kills Ricky’s. He’s better of being compare to J. Williams.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ DaGood – Great point!

  • WinDelRoj

    I kinda like Rubio but would like to see him here before I have a good opinion. But when people say stuff like “Whats he gonna do against….” its kinda old. I mean what does Billups do against CP3? What does Nash do against D Will? They play THEIR game and the defense is positioned accordingly. Its a team game not a 1 on 1 game. His success will depend on who hes playing with and right now, Im hoping someone trades for him.

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    Look at Jason Kidd’s body of work, to say Rubio who has done nothing on the NBA level is comparable shows no respect for Kidd’s game. Taking the Nets to the Finals two years in a row. Think about it THE NETS were in the FINALS two years in a row……

    Let Rubio do something other than shoot 2-11 and hand out a few assists before you crown him……

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    # NBA co-Rookie of the Year (1995)
    # 10× NBA All-Star (1996, 1998, 2000-2004, 2007-2008, 2010)
    # 5× All-NBA First Team (1999-2002, 2004)
    # All-NBA Second Team (2003)
    # 4× All-Defensive First Team (1999, 2001-2002, 2006)
    # 5× All-Defensive Second Team (2000, 2003-2005, 2007)
    # NBA All-Rookie First Team (1995)

    Will Rubio ever get to this level…..highly doubtful.

  • Crew Dizzy

    I’m sorry I don’t see it. I don’t think Rubio is or will be as good as J. Kidd. Just because he can’t shoot and plays point guard doesn’t make it a good comparison. J Kidd always had a post game and the article admitts he’s not the rebounder Kidd is, well that’s part of why J Kidd is so unique the ability to grab the board and start the break without waiting for an outlet pass. To say he’s on par with Kidds’s bball IQ and can lead a team is a stretch, let’s see how he handles some adversity in the league when he’s racking up 60 losses with KAHHHNNNNN and the wolves. I’m not saying he won’t live up to the hype I just don’t see what he’s done to warrant it

  • j-man

    “vision of a single mother” – good one, first time seeing someone use that before.

  • bobby stew


  • jackie moon

    relax sho-nuff article’s just saying rubio is more kidd mold not pistol or nash… honestly i think rubio will replace kidd as the best point guard for all star weekend with all those sweet dimes. that in itself would be an achievement.

  • alex “robocop” murphy

    He’s more on the Rajon Rondo/Jay Williams potential with the scoring/passing/stealing than Kidd. Let’s face it, he has Royal Ivey/Chris Quinn scoring talent.
    Kidd is hall of fame talent. Rubio may never get there.

  • alex “robocop” murphy

    Maybe Jacque Vaughn scoring talent?

  • http://tolulope.edun@gmail.com Y.G.

    @Crew Dizzle- agreed! This guy ain’t NOWHERE near Kidd! Either this article was written to insult J. Kidd or to embarrass Rubio, because Rubio has done nothing to warrant such a comparison. @Austin Burton- Your my boy, but your wrong on this one. You know too much about bball to write such an irresponsible article. Again- Rubio=Jason Williams

  • http://www.runninlikwidworks.com Mr. RLW

    Gr8 read.

    And a spot on corrected comparison. The Pistol was a GUNNER that was a wizard at manning the point, playing to the crowd and getting his teammates the ball. If anything, Nash is closer to Pistol Pete than Rubio is, because he can score, but doesn’t have that lights out scorer’s mentality.

    But back to Rubio, his game does more so resemble Kidd’s. Pass first, pass second, pass third, shoot FIFTH type point guard. You can not become a scorer, that’s something that’s just there. Kidd nor Rubio are scorers. Kidd came in the league with NO shot whatsoever, but developed a jumper over time. Rubio right now is on the same pace. They say he’s improving his jumper (which he’ll need some semblance of in the league, to be successful).

    Kidd isn’t the best on the ball defender (he’s solid) in the league, but he’s good in the passing lanes and a good team defender. Just like Rubio has shown. True, Rubio does not possess Kidd’s speed nor his rebounding acumen, but they still control games the same way… making it easier for their teammates. And there is also a noticable uptick in the efficiency and overall movement of the offense when they’re on the court.

    Is Rubio the next Kidd, honestly, we don’t know. But as a comparison, which is ALL the writer is making here (the title did what it was supposed to do, got you all to come read the damn article, lol) is spot on. An arguement can be made that Rondo “could” be the next generation Kidd. But Rubio is closest because of the flare and pure vision… he has that right now!

  • damn maths!

    this is the best article i’d ever read about him, and i read all of them cause i know him.

    BUT, ricky’s game IS NOT about stathistics. It’s about feelings, about knowing your teammates and opponents at a level that i’ve never seen before, although it is the first time he plays at your side or against you.

    He knows how to run a team as the best p.g in the world, and remember he’s just 19…

  • carmikal

    I don’t know, J-Kidd used to get around 16 to 17 points with the Nets. I think he might be closer to a Mark Jackson that can D up. This kid has been playing with good teams on the international scene and I wonder how will he respond to playing on a team like the T-wolves. What can he do when he is on a squad with lesser talent? I guarantee that he will stay in Spain until either the T-Wolves improve and show more promise or the GM decides that Rubio doesn’t want to play in Minny and trades him to a bigger market which is what Rubio wants.

  • jryu

    just curious–what are the differences b/w FIBA and NBA rules regarding assists?

  • http://tolulope.edun@gmail.com Y.G.

    @Mr. RLW- Kidd is/ was only a solid on the ball defender… This shows that you just started watching bball because Kidd used to lock brothas down back in the day.

  • Claw

    How many boards does Rubio have? Defense? Not even close to Kidd. Plays more like Jason Williams (as said in prior posts-electric game but no D or scoring), and I don’t think he’s even at the level Jason used to play at.

  • Crew Dizzy

    I understand the purpose of the article and I understand that Rubios stats don’t tell the whole story, but from what I’ve seen (which is admittedly is a small sample size) he doesn’t warrant J Kidd comparisons. Unless you watched Rubio extensively I don’t think you can say he’s the next Kidd. Again the in the article the great Austin Burton (no hyperbole or sarcasm intended) states he’s only seen rubio play a few times. To say on such a sample he possess the skills and talent to be the next Kidd is thus unfounded. It’s like ne watching some highschooler for half a season and saying he’s the next MJ.

  • common sense

    lets face it, stop the hype, rubio sucks…

    Dimemag seriously needs the season to start because these topics get more and more ludicrous.. and hyping rubio needs to stop, the guy is average at best..

  • Captain Fantastic

    Factually incorrect. Ricky Rubio was not a starter for FC Barcelona, he came off the bench in the same manner he started the FIBA tournament. Ricky only became a starter of late (since USA game) due to the Calderon injury.

    Which conjures up another misperception. Ricky’s playing time for FC Barcelona and the current FIBA tournament (up to USA game) generally averaged under 16 minutes per game.

    Finally, Steve Nash wasn’t so much a scorer until about 3 years ago. Nash didn’t average in double digits until he was 26 years of age and played an average of 33 minutes per game.

    Rubio is 19 years of age and his average playing time to date is a third less than Nash’s.

  • George W Kush Sr

    You’re reaching again, the only thing Rubio and Kidd have in common is that they are not scorers, the rest still remains to be seen.

  • Chris

    # NBA co-Rookie of the Year (1995) – Not a stretch
    # 10× NBA All-Star (1996, 1998, 2000-2004, 2007-2008, 2010) – Might be tough to be 10x thats legendary
    # 5× All-NBA First Team (1999-2002, 2004) – hard but not a stretch
    # All-NBA Second Team (2003)-easy
    # 4× All-Defensive First Team (1999, 2001-2002, 2006)possible
    # 5× All-Defensive Second Team (2000, 2003-2005, 2007)very doable
    # NBA All-Rookie First Team (1995)- easy

    Those are not the most unobtainable accomplishements. with fan voting, the all star appearances are possble, all rookie stuff shouldnt be hard for him, and if ricky plays any defense, thats already more than any other nba pg besides rondo

  • Chris

    Less athletic Rondo

  • LakeShow84

    Damnnnn did anyone bother to REALLY READ the point of the article??

    His STYLE is CLOSER (CLOSE BUT NOT DEAD ON) Jason Kidds style..

    LMAO got people on here talkin about accomplishments when JKidd is 35 and Rubio is 19-20.. shit did someone even compare their on court speed?? lol

    Well you cant call him a scorer so we can quit the Pistol Pete/Steve Nash comparisons..

    And i agree.. a lot fo what JKidd does/did didnt neccessarily revolve around scoring.. so in that mold they are similar.. i seen the kid play twice and i liked his composure.. wasnt BLOWN away by his #’s but i liked how he handled himself out there being what 17-18 at the time??

    Composure for a PG is what keeps so many people from MAKING it to that next level..

  • LakeShow84

    ooooo i like the less athletic Rondo comparison..

    Minus the boards too..

    And that smug ass face..

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Barrio C money

    Ricky Rubio is built for the NBA game (at least as far as stardom goes) he is not a star hes all hype he has no jump shot (range) for a PG he doesnt split the defense and hes not strong enough. he is over rated and when comparing him to Jennings (or any PG) its not fair hes not in the same league (literally & figuratively)I would most definitely take Dragic from the Suns over Rubio any day. As stated above by Austion I too have only seen him a handful of times and each one of those times he was easily forgettable and not at all impressive. STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS KID he doesnt play in our league he DOESNT WANT TO PLAY in our league (cause in end he CANT play in our league)
    Stop giving this dude Publicity hes the first ricky rubio and no one will be comparing future stars say in 20 or so years to him, Take that to the BANK!

    Follow meeeeeeeeeeeeeee


  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Barrio C money

    HE ISNT BUILT for the NBA GAME *****

  • Crew Dizzy


    Yes I read the article which is basically in my opinion an argument for Rubio being the next Kidd not just similar to Kidd. Hence the name of the article, ” Forget Pistol Pete, Ricky Rubio is the Next Jason Kidd.”

  • anen

    I’m pretty sure Rubio is taller than Kidd also “wider” shoulder/top body and has longer arms, short legs, Long torso actually i think this guy is freakishly misportioned I don’t know how he’s able to run without tripping over himself
    it also makes it hard to figure out his real height

  • Heckler

    he aint no jason kidd.
    if anything, he’s more like the ‘white chocolate’ jason williams.

  • http://n/a Heaven is a Playground

    I watched Rubio play in the 2008 Olympics and FIBA Basketball and I believe he will develop into something special. You can’t teach composure, some people have it and others don’t, as for the Kidd comparison I think Rubio will doing his own thing when it gets the Real Big Leagues (NBA).

  • K

    I see the resemblance J Kidd dominated in every level of basketball hes ever played on. And this kid …….

    o wait never mind. Ill say he plays at best like a past his prime J-kidd minus the rebounding ( AKA dallas version)

  • Jdote

    I think he’s special. He played great against team USA and even in that game his stats were mediocre. of course at 19 he’s no Jason kid but give him time. Remember Jennings stats, even Josh childress stats overseas weren’t too great. He just has to be a bit more aggressive but I don’t even think his jump shot in rthym is that bad. Idk if he will be the rebounder kid was but as far as controlling the eb and flow of the game like j Kidd, it’s definitely possible

  • http://www.glidehoyas.blogspot.com Kent (Glidehoyas)

    NOOOOOOOOO! I’m a old head and big Pistol Pete fan, please do not forget Pistol, no way Rubio is Rubio, you can say he plays like Pistol somewhat but do not forget about Pistol Peteeeeeee, NOOOOOOO! LOL!

  • Kudabeen

    Rubio is wayy over-hyped. He is closer to an early career Andre Miller type with some flavor. He is a good passer and a decent player. He will do a lot for a team with horses than a team lacking.

    Jason Kidd was a very explosive offensive player even though he couldn’t shot it. This guy was a great attacker…rubio is not at all.

    The pistol pete stuff was was silly and just bases on his hair cut…very silly.

    I love how people will dog a Rondo and say how he doesn’t fit in the International game because of what ISN’T his strengths, but continue to praise rubio like he lights it up. This guy routinely has poor shooting games and turnovers, but it is excused as youth…HE’s been balling professionally since he was 14 no??

    Rondo is just as good a play maker, better defender, better off the dribble attacker, better finisher…But people will still ride Rubio because he is a mystery in the States…lame.

    I see him much like the J. Will mold…Flashy and exciting. An excellent option to run point on a good team, but not a Hall of Famer. Not an All-Star.

    These international player have so many tools and can play no doubt, but they know the hype and expectation get out of hand and would rather go back home (Navarro) and average 10-17ppg and live like kings rather than go through the fruitless attempt to break the Top 20 in the NBA over guys.

    The more I watch international ball the more I can say with absolute certainty that they play a better style of BBall (physical without being low scoring and spirited), but when it comes to the bravado of going head to head and really dominating (which is what the NBA demands) there is only one modern player that does that and it is Dirk…I love watching Dirk play for Germany. What other international player can put his team on his back like him? Not even Ginobli.

  • pedro

    Typical americans.. sigh..
    Next want?! Who cares..
    Rubio is Rubio.

  • anen

    as of now Rubio has more steals than Rose and Rose has more turnovers than Rubio….

  • Chris

    ^^^ and i’d still take Rose over Rubio..see the clutch layup vs Spain

  • RC

    next Jason Kidd???

    Teach Rubio the importance of rebounding and playing defense first before even thinking about comparing this kid to the great J Kidd

  • Oppaman

    do you get your opinions from your ass austin burton?

  • Ande

    There is less respect in the comments about Rubio. That shows a arrogant character.
    His defense is more than solid. Listen to the comments of the US-team about him. He is now the third in assists at the WC (www.fiba.com). That`s not bad for a 19 year old kid. Maybe he will not have the great HOF-carrier Jason has, but he will be a better point guard in the league.
    Each player is an original. Rose is not a great passer, his court vision is not first a team vision, than a self-scoring vision. But I don`t blame him for that. It`s his style. Ricky has his style. Ricky can carry a team on his shoulders. He has shown it in the Final Four of Euroleague in Paris this year. In the first game in Paris he was the motor for his team.
    Ricky has a lot to learn in the NBA, but he knows the importance of rebounding and playing defense. He doesn`t have to be teached about that. Watch his game carefully, than you`ll see it!

  • Guitar Hero

    amazing basketball IQ. I´d love to have him on my team.
    He´ll be a good NBA player – maybe a very good one.

    Although he´s no scorer, obviously.

  • Shot In Your Face

    he is like Ason Kidd. He’s got no J

  • buckethead

    Rose nor Curry are top PGs in WC (www.fiba.com) how this shyt works!? nobody is leading in asst, rebounds, or points per game according to that website

  • buckethead

    ^^^ *no one in U.S.
    actually only Durant 4th place in leading scorer

  • buckethead

    after looking at the stats imagine Rubio and Rose in the same team They complement each other. take note for future possibilities….

  • andy bell

    vision of a single mother?

    since when does being stupid enough to have a child with a deadbeat = vision???

  • Xand

    If you think Ricky doesn’t play D, then you should stop posting immediately because you’ve obviously never watched the kid play. He’s a solid man defender b/c of his size and length (6’3-6’4 with a 6’9 wingspan) but more importantly is a havoc-creating team defender with long arms, awesome anticipation and lightning fast hands. He’s not the most athletic guy and he’ll get beat off the dribble by the Roses and Pauls of the world from time to time, but I challenge you to show me a guard who won’t. The athletic PGs of the NBA carve everyone up off the dribble, but Ricky can challenge shots with his size and he’s a smart player who will know how to minimize his limitations and get back plenty of points with his ball-hawking.

    Offensively, he will be the engine that drives a team. His +/- and winning-related stats will be off the charts, even if he’s not a potent scorer. He will be a perennial leader in assists and steals and will simply help whatever team he comes to (hopefully the Wolves) win games. He will have a Kidd or Rondo like affect on every game where he’ll help his team to a win even though he scores 10 points on 8 shots because he’ll also have 12 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

    He’ll also be a perennial all-star. His game is tailor-made for it with his awesome vision and relentless fast-break style. With the country of Spain and everyone in the U.S. who actually wants to watch an exciting all-star game voting for him it’s almost a certainty that he’ll be a fixture at all-star weekend.

    Will he challenge Jason Kidd for career accolades or go down in the record books as a super star? Maybe not, who knows? But stylistically he plays a lot like Kidd (and Rondo) and he’s already shown that he can hold his own against NBA competition (see the FIBA exhibition game or the Olympics). I, for one, cannot wait until the kid joins the NBA because he’s going to immediately make any game he plays in 10x as exciting.