I wish I could claim credit for writing this analysis of Ricky Rubio, because it’s brilliant. Alas it was written by the incomparable Henry Abbott on ESPN’s True Hoop. All I can take credit for is pointing you fortunate readers over to what is apparently Henry Abbott’s audition to be an NBA scout, and what he’s dug up on Ricky Rubio. Go get your coffee and a doughnut, and give yourself 5-10 minutes to read the whole thing. Perspective is a beautiful thing.
I haven’t posted in a while, but here’s my quick take on what to do with Number 2.
There seems to be a chorus of folks demanding that we snatch the keys from Mike Conley and give ’em to an 18-year-old Spanish import.
No disrespect at all to Rubio, because I DO think we should take him — either to develop him ourselves, or to package him with picks, contracts and talent to bring in Blake Griffin or a veteran PF. So I repeat: if the Clippers don’t take him at No. 1 (we should be so lucky) — snatch him at No. 2.
The often overlooked bane of the Grizzlies existence is the annual roster shakeup. Every fall for the past 3-4 years, it seems guys need nametags to learn who the new guys are — and there tend to be at least 5-6 new names on the roster each year. And don’t get me started on the 18-month expiration date on Grizzlies coaches . . .
On top of that, people forget that Conley was receiving favorable comparisons to Tony Parker and Steve Nash when we drafted him. Though he may have disappointed early, the guy is NOT a scrub. Point guard is the hardest position to learn, and before people laugh off those comparisons to Parker and Nash, ask yourself how much you heard about them in their first three years. They didn’t start to blossom until their third year. Chauncey Billups and Jameer Nelson were so-called late bloomers. If we trade Conley this offseason (unless it’s a CLEAR veteran upgrade at PF), we will hate Chris Wallace for it sooner or later — probably sooner.
Conley’s numbers — including his so-called poor shooting touch from downtown — all went up when Hollins gave him the keys and let him go. Even under Iavaroni, anyone could tell that Conley can get into the lane at will. The difference is that now, Conley himself seems to glimpse what he’s capable of. That’s good news for us. And the team was clearly beginning to develop that all important chemistry that comes only with playing together for while. We haven’t had chemistry since Shane left. I like chemistry. I want it back.
Finally, we need insurance at the point. Or have we forgotten Damon Stoudamire going down in 2005, Kyle going down in 2006, and Conley going down in 2007? I’m perfectly content with starting Conley and bringing Rubio off the bench until he plays his way into the starting lineup — whether that’s this season or two years from now. Conversely, we draft Rubio, trade Conley, and Baron Davis/Deron Williams/(Insert bruising veteran PG here) snaps Rubio like the twig he is right now, and the franchise is SOL. Not attractive.
Rubio will be the real deal . . . eventually (Did I mention Henry Abbott’s EXCELLENT piece on Rubio?).
In the meantime, we’ve got a good (and potentially great) young point guard already. Keep him.