NBA / Jun 2, 2011 / 4:00 pm

Stud Or Dud: Looking Forward To Ricky Rubio In The NBA

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio (photo. Nicky Woo)

Now that Ricky Rubio‘s European career has most likely come to an end, it’s time to look at his NBA potential. Other international talents have stirred similar controversy when their overseas careers ended and the NBA horizon loomed. Take a look as we debate the potential of the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Stud by Kevin Zimmerman

Growing worries of Ricky Rubio’s last few seasons of Euro ball have developed into doubt that the fifth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft will become irrelevant when he finally steps on and NBA court. Though there’s a lot of uncertainty behind the 20-year-old, there’s a number of reasons why he shouldn’t be discounted as a successful NBA talent.

Maybe it begins with his lack of pure athleticism and unappealing NBA build. Look at it this way; one of the league’s best point guards over the past few years, Steve Nash, isn’t much of an athletic specimen himself. Nonetheless, his basketball IQ has made him one of the most skilled and creative passers in the game, and there’s no reason Rubio, despite his lack of pure explosiveness, can’t mold himself into the same effective point guard in a similar way as Nash has done for himself.

After all, the youngster proved that NBA size and speed wouldn’t hamper his abilities in the 2008 Olympics. In two games against Team USA, Rubio played 46 total minutes and tallied 14 points and six assists.

Sure, he had six turnovers as well, but then a teenager, he didn’t wilt under the spotlight and wasn’t afraid to take the ball to the basket, hitting 9-of-10 free throws through two games against an athletic American squad. And defensively, Rubio ripped USA six times in those two outings. So is his athleticism that much of a concern? Clearly the USA defense didn’t keep him out of the paint, and clearly his own defense was decent enough to make plays.

Why then, did he struggle these past few seasons in Europe? It’s a more constricted game, the closer three-point line and available zone defenses constraining to a point guard who would be better suited in the pick and roll happy NBA. For a savvy ball-handler like Rubio, the NBA can only help his game.

Look at Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings and his brief European career as proof. Jennings also put up sub-par stats that made GMs do a double-take. But when he came to the NBA, while his numbers aren’t especially extraordinary, Jennings has shown just how different – and how misleading – overseas production can be.

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  • beiber newz

    for sure STUD.

    i remember having an argument a year before bandon jennings went to the NBA with some hater who said he was sucking overseas and said jennings wouldnt be successful. however, BJ went as a lottery pick and started and took the bucks to the playoffs (with the help of bogut) but what this means is that rubio has a better chance in the NBA than where he was. his passing skills will be a breath of fresh air from the athletic dunking freakish pg’s nowadays. the nash’s and kidd’s are disappearing and i for one WILL OVE TO SEE A PISTOL PETE TYPE PG again. the westbrooks of this era are taking over. i love diversity and rubio will be thee guy. the game overseas is extra physical and the nba rules are tailored for ricky’s game. but he needs a coach that gives him freedom, which is why diantoni is drooling over him.

  • UncheckedAggression

    beiber newz–Do you have any idea what Pistol Pete was like? He was a scorer. Lights out. He could shoot from anywhere in addition to being creative with the ball. That’s what made him legendary. Rubio will be one of the worst scoring PGs in the league. He’s got a lot to make up for.

    Frankly, I’m not so optimistic about his chances.


    He shot 30% and 25% (Or so) from 3. He doesn’t have the build or athleticism and seems reticent to even join an NBA team.

    What aspect of him (apart from his flowing locks) screams stud NBA player, I’m curious?

    Dud, dud, dud… guaranteed. He would have gotten even more exposed had he played NCAA ball. I don’t wish any negativity on the guy… hope he proves me wrong… I just doubt it… very much so.

  • heckler


    more hype than substance.
    none of us have seen anything from him to believe otherwise.

    he cant shoot. i think he has some range, but he cant shoot. aint accurate. can barely dribble left. aint strong enough (yet) to handle contact. too young to be a leader (court nor locker room). cannot start a defensive press.

    he is skilled; but no more than a jason white chocolate williams. STOP with the pistol pete comparisons; you fools are too young to know anything about the pistol. most of yall still in uer 20s.

  • @Deknowz

    option 3, I never want to hear about this kid again until it’s followed by an NBA stat-line.

  • beiber newz

    @ #2: i compared him to pistol pete PASSING WISE.. did you not read what else i had written? when i talked about him being a breath of fresh air from the (scoring) westrooks of the world? i referred to his pistol-pete-like willingness to distribute within the flashyness of it as well. you have to understand context clues when you read.

  • beiber newz

    and at heckler’s #4: regardless of the fact that you want to silence people opinions on resembling pistol pete, it doesn’t matter because some of us are informed, educated fans and see scouts, paid, professional scouts compare him to pistol. so really you need to simmer down.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Beiber newz–Now you’re showing just how ignorant you are. Pistol Pete was a scorer. He was not a very willing passer. You’ve clearly built Pistol up to be something he isn’t–just like Rubio.

  • sh!tfaced

    One thing you can say about Rubio. He picked the right year and draft class to enter the league. Going with this batch might be his best shot at winning ROY.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    The Pistol was a team player…he was on teams that needed him to take 30+ shots, score 40, and still collect his reticent 6 dimes…and Rubio looked better at 16 than he does now…no worries though, god looks out for white people (kidding), and Rubio will be a starter, probably looking like a 2nd year Mike Conley Jr. in his first year. Plus he’ll have a healthy Jonny Flynn to compete for minutes with, which should fire him up. 5x allstar at the end of his career…

  • UncheckedAggression

    Sans–I don’t know what to tell you if you truly believe that. Pistol was a scorer, period. He got assists much the same way as Iverson.

  • beiber newz

    @ #8: this is all i have to say to you. LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    i still love you though. i don’t care if you call me ignorant. no need to get into web-wars. it’s corny but obviously cool for some jerks.

  • Kobeeeee

    Hmmm. He may be a kind of Paul Gasol as a PG. Not physical but the finesse PG.

  • beiber newz

    its pau

  • beiber newz

    and it’s pronounced POW not paw. which is probably why you added the L at the end

  • wcs

    people forget he made Rose look average last summer. The kid can play D and handle the ball like a mother

  • Blue

    Has everyone forgotte4n the finals of the Olympics Rubio may not have lit up the stat sheet but he lit up the redeemers. Without him the game would’ve been a complete blowout. Surrounded by good players he will carve teams up.

  • Ric_Hardwood

    He’ll be like Rondo (Can’t shoot, ball hawk on D)… but less speed and quickness… If you can’t shoot, you gotta go inside. If he doesn’t hit the gym, he will be injured half the season…

  • http://kilikilishot.blogspot.com Mandirigma


    for all the people who say steve nash is unathletic, the guy has great handles, SHOOTING AND FOOTSPEED.

    rubio plays with poise, but so do most euro PGs. rubio is more calderon, WITH more flash and WITHOUT the 3 ball.

    i fear that drose (too aggressive), cp3 (too smart) and specially dwilliams (too strong) will straight out MURDER this kid.

  • anen

    man where are u getting all these pictures