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Ricky Rubio - PG, 6'4, 194
Minnesota Timberwolves - Drafted 5th overall in 2009, signed in 2011
       Date of birth: 10/21/1990
       Country: Spain
     Drafted (NBA): 5th pick, 2009
     Out of: DKV Joventut (Spain)
  NBA Experience: 5 years
  Hand: Right

From blog:


   An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The Euroleague Final Eight
2011-03-24

The starting backcourt consistently consists of Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro. Navarro has lost nothing; his assault of jumpshots and floaters still reigns supreme, and is still good for 14.8 points per game in only 26 minutes per contest, on 46% shooting. Rubio, though, seems to be suffering from stagnated growth. The improvements shown last season in his feet-set jumpshooting have completely disappeared, and for the season he is shooting 19 of 92 from three point range across Euroleague and ACB play. He is, amazingly, still only 20 years of age, the most experienced 20 year old in the basketball world, the only 20 year old point guard to have been a key component on both a Eurobasket and Euroleague champion in the past 18 months. And he's still very good. The transition, the passing vision, the defense on point guards, and the pick-and-roll assault, are in as full of a force as always. But he's more Brevin Knight than Steve Nash at this point, and will be until such time that he can consistently make open shots. It looked as though his jumper was getting there, but he's regressed at what was already his biggest weakness, and it's a concern. Once he's fixed that leaky dam, he can begin working on creating his own shot and shooting off the dribble.

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   Sham's 2010 NBA Draft Night Recap, Part 1
2010-06-27

[...] The moves seem to predicate, if not necessitate, O.J. Mayo moving to part-time point guard. I am not convinced of Mayo's ability to do this, but it should at least be a defensive improvement; Henry is a good defensive player, and Mayo should benefit from a size advantage rather than a disadvantage. However, the pairing doesn't figure to do much for Memphis's lack of discipline on the court; the team has plenty of offensive firepower, but just don't play that smart, due in large part to mediocre point guard play. Mayo does not look to be the controlled half-court unselfish and effective point guard that the team needs.

(Like Rubio.)

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   An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The NBA Prospects Of The Unsigned NBA Draft Picks
2011-04-02

Ricky Rubio (5th pick, 2009)

- Rubio was covered quite emphatically in the recent Euroleague round-up:

Rubio [...] seems to be suffering from stagnated growth. The improvements shown last season in his feet-set jumpshooting have completely disappeared, and for the season he is shooting 19 of 92 from three point range across Euroleague and ACB play. He is, amazingly, still only 20 years of age, the most experienced 20 year old in the basketball world, the only 20 year old point guard to have been a key component on both a Eurobasket and Euroleague champion in the past 18 months. And he's still very good. The transition, the passing vision, the defense on point guards, and the pick-and-roll assault, are in as full of a force as always. But he's more Brevin Knight than Steve Nash at this point, and will be until such time that he can consistently make open shots. It looked as though his jumper was getting there, but he's regressed at what was already his biggest weakness, and it's a concern. Once he's fixed that leaky dam, he can begin working on creating his own shot and shooting off the dribble.


In the quarter finals series - which Barcelona lost 3-1 - Rubio totalled 29 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. In one game, he hit four three pointers, including one off the dribble; he had spent the early part of that game passing up threes, but as they started going in, he started looking for them. It was an eye-opener for the future of that aspect of his game - while his technique won't ever be brilliant barring a dramatic change in his technique, confidence is a big help. Rubio will almost certainly play in the NBA one day, although it's less clear where.

Chances of making the NBA expressed as an arbitrary percentage: 90%

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   Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 57
2010-04-17

- Ricky Rubio

You know where Ricky Rubio is. He's with Barcelona.

But here's the thing; because of what happened this summer, Ricky Rubio is now much maligned. Because he didn't sign straight away, the pick is now viewed - in the eyes of some, at least - as a bad one. And that's silly. Not only was the pick acquired for nothing more than one year rentals of Randy Foye and Mike Miller, it was also used on the right person, because Rubio is damn good. It doesn't matter if a player doesn't sign straight away, particularly on a team who have no short term purpose other than to lose, just as long as you sign. Rubio will. And when he does, he will be a fine player.

In the ACB this season, Rubio is averaging 6.4 points, 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals in only 19.0 minutes per game. He is shooting 45% from two point range, 42% from three point range and 77% from the line. If those numbers don't overwhelm you, consider that ACB assists are far harder than NBA assists are. Indeed, 4.4 apg ties for fourth in the league alongside Stephane Dumas and Kristaps Valters; the three players ahead of him (Omar Cook, 6.1apg), Marcelinho Huertas (5.2 apg) and Maximiliano Stanic (5.0 apg) average 24.7, 24.5 and 30.2 minutes per game respectively. Per 40 minutes, Roobs averages 9.3 assists, second only to Cook's 9.7 and far ahead of the rest of the league. The Roobster's steals per game rank second in the league only to Tariq Kirksay's 2.3spg; his steals per 40 minutes averaged of 4.6 ranks waaaaaaaay ahead of Pablo Prigioni's second placed 3.2 ap40. Rubio also has a PER of 23.3, tied for 6th in the league alongside teammate Juan Carlos Navarro and Greek shooter Costas Vassiliadis of Xacobeo Blusens. And even though he's been around for 5 years now, he's still only 19. 19 year olds in the ACB just shouldn't do this.

Rubio's numbers in the Euroleague drop down a bit, as indeed they'd have to. This is particularly true for his shooting percentages, which drop to 36%/35%/90%. But Rubio still averages 20.5 minutes, 6.7 points, 4.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, posting a PER of 17.1 and ranking 9th in the competition in assists. And he's still only 19 there, too. If you hated on the Timberwolves for the pick, consider for a minute whether it's because you think Rubio isn't good enough for a number 5 pick, or because you think it's in some way game-changing that he didn't sign in the NBA immediately. If it's the latter, re-examine why you think that, and do so again once the Timberwolves draft Evan Turner in 12 weeks time.

And if you hated on the Rubio pick without hating on the Jonny Flynn pick, you've REALLY missed the point.

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   2011 NBA Draft Diary
2011-06-25

The Timberwolves pick next, which prompts a Ricky Rubio discussion. Stu Scott mentions that Ricky played only 20 minutes per game for Barcelona last season, the implication being that there's something wrong with him. But this is misleading. Leaving aside all further discussion of the Rubio issue for a moment - for it has previously been discussed here - Ricky's minutes per game are not in question. He played only 20 minutes per game because everybody only plays about 20 minutes per game. There follows Barcelona's minutes per game breakdown in ACB play last year.

Pete Mickeal - 27.4.
Juan Carlos Navarro - 25.3.
Erazem Lorbek - 22.5.
Alan Anderson - 22.9.
Ricky Rubio - 21.3.
Victor Sada - 17.1.
Terence Morris - 17.1.
Fran Vazquez - 16.4.
Roger Grimau - 14.1.
Jaka Lakovic - 13.3.
Joe Ingles - 14.0.
Boniface N'Dong - 12.8.
Kosta Perovic - 11.8.


Of that list, five players (Perovic, Navarro, Anderson, Morris, N'Dong) have played in the NBA. A further four (Vazquez, Lorbek, Mickeal, Rubio) were drafted into it, although they have not played in it. Joe Ingles was damn near drafted a couple of years ago, and Jaka Lakovic has long been a high calibre European and international player. Sada and Grimau are solid domestic role players, too, and thus get their minutes. While Mickeal played only 8 ACB games all season due to a modicum of illnesses, the rest played almost every game. It is clear to see, then, that Barcelona went 12 deep with regularity. And it's not a trait limited to them. All European teams with big enough budgets do this. For example, Efes Pilsen went 14 deep last year. Because they could.

Fran Vazquez is the best centre in Europe, and yet he played only 16 minutes per game. The 16 minutes per game has no bearing on the fact that he's the best centre in Europe; he is not robbed of that title just because he plays less than half the game, nor is he undeserving of it. Vazquez could certainly play more, a lot more. But he doesn't, because it's not the European way. The European way, for whatever reason, is to play as many guys as possible in a 40 minute game, changing your rotation and your starting lineup every damn night. Even Juan Carlos Navarro - the closest thing the ACB has to a superstar - only churns out 25mpg. It is very silly, yet it is the unwritten rule.

The question as to why they do this in the upper echleons of the European game - i.e, those who can afford it - is not something I can answer. Perhaps it is done to prevent any player becoming a diva. Perhaps, in many other cases, it is their best means of combating the lack of star power. Yet star power should not be an issue for Barcelona. They sport Navarro, Vasquez and Rubio, three of Spain's best and three of Spain's most exciting. While it's good to get players the calibre of Anderson and N'Dong if you can, there's no obvious reason other than habit as to why benches run excessively deep. I can only theorise as to why. But it's not especially relevant to the case study of Ricky Rubio to know why it happens. It's just important to know that it does happen.

In short, Ricky Rubio's 20 minutes per game is not something that is to be held against him.

No, the thing you should hold against him is his inability to make a shot.

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