International: DKV Joventut
Position: Point Guard
As the only International player in our top draft prospects list, Ricky Rubio might as well be the next version of the Beatles heading to the United States. For years, basketball junkies have been clamoring to see the Spanish version of Pistol Pete in the NBA. Rubio displayed his incredible skill set during the 2008 Olympics and twice against the Redeem Team. The most impressive part of Rubio's game is his court vision. Rubio is a fantastic distributor of the basketball and is extremely poised for his age (18). The change of pace and ball handling skills Rubio possesses on the fast break makes defenders look simply foolish. Defensively, Rubio racks up steals with his long arms. Most scouts are thoroughly impressed by the high level of basketball IQ from Rubio.
At such a young age, can Rubio make the jump to the NBA? Regardless of his experience overseas in a professional league, Rubio will now enter a league with some of the best athletes in the world. Rubio's slight frame may take a beating from stronger point guards such as Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams. The athleticism is also in question when he faces dynamic floor leaders with the same type of speed. Rubio is a set shooter and will need to develop a consistent jumper from deep range to fully take advantage of his pick-and-roll skills.
The importance of a quality point guard has been highly elevated in the past three years with the emergence of a long list of players making a big impact for their teams at that position. A quick look at that list: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, Mo Williams, Jason Kidd, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Baron Davis, and Andre Miller. The Wolves would love to add a talented player like Rubio in the backcourt with one of their biggest needs at the point guard spot. Rubio would fit nicely into a group of young players that will run the fast break and play unselfish basketball. A couple of issues will face the Wolves franchise if they decide to draft Rubio. His professional team is demanding a payout fee for the team that selects him in June and Rubio may need a couple of years to develop before making a true impact in the starting lineup.
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla on RICKY RUBIO
Chad Ford's Top 100
"While European players seem to be out of favor at the moment, Rubio is the exception. His performance in the Olympics and his steady play in the two best leagues in Europe have scouts convinced he has the ability to be a special point guard. He lacks ideal speed and athleticism, but makes up for it with his basketball IQ and poise."
"Ricky Rubio doesnít have overwhelming stats, but heís the youngest prospect on our list playing against by far the strongest competition, and thus isnít as weak in some areas as people may imagine."
"The problem with Ricky Rubio is: Where to start? He has more skill than anyone in his worldwide age group. Including but not limited to: Defense, anticipation, intelligence, ball handling, PG (vision) creation, rhythm, coordination, ambition, scoring and personality."
Ford's Mock Draft
No. 3 to Oklahoma City
No. 4 to Sacramento
No. 4 to Sacramento
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