Ok, we get a guy like this in the draft every few years. A player with a ton of talent shrouded in mystery. They could get drafted 2nd or 8th. We hear all kinds of crazy claims about them and they are always compared to some NBA legend or another. For Ricky Rubio that player is Pete Maravich (aka Pistol Pete). I have read the articles and watched the Youtube clips. I even just listened to Pau Gasol talk about him in an interview on the radio. From what I have gathered the only think similar between the great Pistol Pete and Ricky Rubio is the fact that they are both skinny white guys with flashy moves. That is were it ends for me. Let us look at a few players that Rubio could end up like and let you decide. So let us take a look.
1) Pistol Pete Maravich. Pistol Pete was a speed freak. The fastest player of his time. Ok, maybe there were a few players faster but few players ever moved with the ball like Maravich. Rubio is a very flashy player from what I have seen, but those are also highlights. I wonder what his turnover ratio will be like in the NBA if he throw a lot of passes like that. I think Rubio has the skills and talent to average over 10 assists a game, while Maravich highest NBA average was 6.7 in 1977-78. Pistol Pete was a scorer first, something that Rubio is not known for. In fact Rubio is a poor shooter. Ask Pau Gasol. Gasol answer to the question "can Rubio Shoot" was a simple "No". Gasol went on to say that Rubio is a great teammate and a great ballhandler and playmaker. Does not sound like Rubio has a lot in common with Maravich if you ask me.
2) Steve Nash. To me this is the best case senerio for Ricky Rubio's career. A player who has trouble scoring and shooting at times but a great facilitator of the ball. It has been noted that Rubio is a solid defender, but I have to wonder if he is just a risky player that sneaks into passing lanes for quick steals. Steals are great but if the teams defense is spread then they sometimes can be a gamble. I am not clear on if Rubio is really a good man on man defender or not. Maybe someone could help me with that one. I think stronger NBA point guards like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Derrick Rose would man handle him. To me Steve Nash seems like a fairly solid comparison for Rubio if Rubio does indeed take the NBA by storm.
3) Jose Calderon. Calderon's stats might be closest to what most predict Rubio to display. 13 points and 9 assists seem about right but Calderon takes care of the ball very well and I just wonder still how many turnovers a player like Rubio could produce. Jose is also a great shooter making the comparison very hard.
4) Kirk Hinrich. Clearly Hinrich is not the passer that Rubio seems to be but they do have a few things in common. Kirk is a streaky shooter at best and a great teammate with a great basketball IQ and yes he too is also white and lanky. Hinrich if a starter will give you 15 points a night and just over 6 assists and play gritty defense. So if Rubio is really a good defender in the NBA he could be very similar to a Kirk Hinrich. Maybe a couple more assists and a few less points per game. To me this is a safe call on what level of player Rubio could be in the NBA. He could be much better or much worse. There are a lot worse point guards in the league then Hinrich that is for sure.
5) Chris Duhon. Do you see a theme? The players are getting worse and worse. Duhon is a average defender which Rubio could very well be in the NBA and a spotty shooter. He is however a pretty good playmaker. To me I think Rubio will be a better player then Duhon but you never know. Most predictions I see have Rubio averaging around 10 points and 10 assists. There really is no player in the league with stats like that. Rubio is not going to rebound like Jason Kidd or Rajon Rondo or score like the only two point guards to actually average over 10 assists per game in CP3 and D. Will.
6) Bust. Will Ricky Rubio just be another overseas bust? It could happen. Pau Gasol did not make him out to be the next great point guard and besides all the crap Pistol Pete comparisons I have seen very little detailed information on what Rubio will do in the NBA.
So, what player do you think Ricky Rubio will end up being like? Will he slowly get better as the years go on like Steve Nash did or will he make a splash from day one? What will his NBA career averages look like after 5 seasons?