Posted by: Kingsguru21 | June 28, 2009

With regards to Ricky Rubio

There’s always going to be a huge issue of whether Ricky Rubio should have been picked by the Kings. I imagine that’s going to be a huge issue unless Tyreke Evans develops into a Dwyane Wade level superstar. And, if that’s the case, any objections along those lines would be churlish and stupid anyway.

But, this is not about Tyreke Evans vs Ricky Rubio. Maybe some other day, but not today. This is about Rubio.

The interesting thing to me is that I don’t think the Kings passed up on Rubio because of the complications of his contract. (I think the hype he generates would have more than made up for it long term if he developed into that stud.) I do think it comes back squarely to whom the best talent the Kings would have gotten. So, in that sense, I feel comfortable. I just wanted to write this small (but important) caveat before I continue.

One of the things that’s currently happening with Rubio and his negotiations is that he might be meeting with David Kahn, new GM of the Wolves, in talking about his potential role with the team (I imagine).

Kahn has a major sell job, and a major problem if Rubio doesn’t fully buy in. Plus because of the issue with the buyout, and the fact Rubio will make substantially more money if he gets his buyout reduced, there’s no reason for him not to use the fact that he could go back to Joventut to develop his game as leverage. In fact, if Joventut’s worry is to get the most amount of money out of this deal, it’s in Ricky’s best interest to say that. Who cares if he mentions Minnesota’s weather (what like it doesn’t get cold or snow anywhere else in the NBA?) as a problem. I don’t like Minnesota’s weather. I’m also not going to make millions of dollars to play for the Wolves either.

I do wonder if one major issue is the fact that there is no coach. As Henry Abbott mentions on TrueHoop, there is that little fact that people are overlooking here. No coach. Read an excerpt from Henry’s piece:

Kahn has an unusual asset: No coach. Kahn said in a press conference that “one thing I’ll guarantee you: It won’t be an easy ride. It’ll be a bumpy ride.” As Kahn fields offers from other teams for Rubio, he can convincingly tell them that if Rubio stays in Europe, it’s no big deal to him. So the Wolves might lose a few more games. It’ll help their long-term strategy. On any normal team, the person who would be irate when expressing a willingness to lose games would be the coach. But there is no coach to worry about. If he wants to, Kahn can make a strong case that what happens this coming year is of no real concern.

And, that’s Kahn’s prerogative here. I wouldn’t want my team to win a ton of games losing out on what could be a potential franchise player especially if I don’t have one on my team. (I don’t think the Wolves do.) Having a higher pick in 2010 and 2011 is more likely to guarantee any shot you have of getting a franchise player. Losing games is the best way to guarantee that. It’s not like the Wolves weren’t going to lose games anyway. The best team in the history of the NBA won 72 games. They also lost 10. I’m not sure which was more shocking in that particular instance of the Bulls. (It wasn’t a fluke. They won 69 games the next year too.)

Ricky Rubio is an interesting situation. He can hold his presence of playing for Joventut over Joventut’s head. He knows it. Kahn does too.

I think the only negative here for Ricky, and the Wolves really, is that he probably won’t be able to make Summer League. (I’m sure the Wolves are hoping that his contract does resolve quickly so that can happen, however.)

The one thing that Ricky does have to work on is getting stronger, better shooting, and figuring out how to utilize his strengths to help himself and the team in the best possible fashion. Even as complicated as that sounds in the way I explained it, it’s probably (at least) infinity more times impossible to actually do. If it wasn’t, I doubt the NBA would place such a premium on it after all.

The funny thing here is that the Wolves, and Ricky, will be taking shots for taking him, what he says, what they say, and everything else. As far as I’m concerned, and for Wolves fans who are saying it as well, and I know plenty are, this is probably the best possible situation for Ricky Rubio in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like the fans don’t need a player they will absolutely love after being heart broken the last 2 seasons after the trade of Garnett. (Even if they understand it, they still hate it.) That’s why Ricky Rubio, and why teams are trying to test David Kahn, is the most interesting prospect in this draft. It’s why, despite going first overall which usually receives the most amount of hype in any draft, noone is talking about Blake Griffin which is almost sad.

While I’m personally behind the Kings taking Tyreke Evans, and think the Clippers definitely got a player that can make them better in all phases in Griffin, Minnesota is the most interesting and intriguing, because of the risk they chose when taking Flynn, team of them all.

Only time is the ultimate decision maker, but looking back, I think we might recognize that if Rubio isn’t the best player in the draft, he may be the man to have saved basketball in Minnesota. And, if you’re a NBA fan who has grown tired of hearing how all important the economy is (when it seems to me that it’s mostly rich people losing their ON PAPER wealth–if you’re already poor, how does that change much for you?), this might be a much needed respite. If you’re a guy like Stop n Pop who has said he wants to see what the franchise did up until the trade deadline before quitting as a Wolves fan, I personally hope he sticks with the team. Because quite honestly, and even though I do like Evans as a player even if he doesn’t pan out the way the Kings are most likely hoping, I am more interested in the Wolves because they have 2 of the more intriguing players in all of the whole shebang. Sometimes being talked about is the best thing after all.


  1. Pookey,

    I strongly agree with all of your observations re: Ricky.

    I do feel Kahn was stock piling talent and building in a contingency in the event Ricky wasn’t available next year.

    Flynn probably helps them right away, and Rubio is the longer horizon better tragectory talent who like you pointed out needs to work on those very objectionable flaws. Europe is a better forum for that anyway.

    I hope Kahn doesn’t relent and trade Ricky to New York, but we will see.

    • Yes chouse, we will see.

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