Ricky Rubio, arguably the biggest NBA international prospect ever, has made it known that he would like his name to be included in the 2009 NBA draft according to a report by Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated.
But it’s never quite that easy with foreign professionals. Rubio has a complicated situation involving his current contract with DKV Joventut Barcelona, his Spanish club. It includes a multimillion-dollar buyout, of which NBA teams are allowed to contribute a maximum of $500,000, and that means if Rubio leaves Europe, the buyout money would be supplemented from his first NBA contract.
In addition to his contract buyout, Germa’n González, Rubio’s agent has been less than bullish on Rubio’s NBA prospects. “We do not want it to go like other players who have left very high in the Draft and soon they do not play. The Americans have become crazy to have players there as soon as possible. The decisions will be taken based on which the European market also provides.” González told Spanish Sports Daily Marca.
Rubio over Blake Griffin
If 6-3, 180lb creative playmaker does enter, he’ll be the top point guard prospect and is a lock to become a top-five NBA pick.
Projected to be selected second or third overall, Rubio has been rising up the charts slowly but surely. Just recently, there have been rumors that Rubio could go first if a team is looking for a point guard. If Rubio remains on the board, expect the speculation to continue.
Rubio being selected over Blake Griffin? With Rubio in the mix, it’s not a far off possibility.
That’s just how much potential scouts believe the 18-year old Rubio has, enough to possibly forgo a sure thing in Blake Griffin. Griffin, the monster 6-10, 250lb power forward for the Oklahoma Sooners is averaging 22.5 points, and leading the NCAA in rebounds with 14.4 rebounds, has been the consensus #1 pick in mock drafts.
Ricky’s reputation grew exponentially during the 2008 Olympics. Despite shooting only 28% from the field, Rubio dazzled scouts and player alike with his poise, quickness, defense, creativity, and most of all, the basketball IQ and savvy of a 15-year veteran on the downside of his athleticism. He currently is averaging 9.3 points, 6.4 assists and 2.1 steals in 21.0 minutes in the ACB (Spanish League).
If Rubio enters the American league next season, he’ll join his fellow countrymen Pau Gasol of the Lakers, Jose Calderon (Toronto), Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez of the Portland Trailblazers, and Marc Gasol (Grizzlies). International-born players have been selected #1 overall twice in NBA history – Yao Ming of China in 2003 and Andrea Bargnani of Italy in 2007.
Links and Resources: Ricky Rubio wants to enter 2009 NBA Draft (CNN/SI), Olympic Breakouts: Ricky Rubio (Interbasket), Agent: Ricky Rubio out of 2009 Draft (Slam Online), In the Young Spaniard, The N.B.A. sees the Next Maravich (New York Times)