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Why it should and how it could be Rubio at #2 for the Wolves


Plenty of Wolves fans would be perfectly happy to get some combo of Curry/Evans/DeRozan at the 5/6 picks, and as well we should be. But here is why I think the Wolves should get Rubio, and that it should come from Rubio being drafted in the 2nd spot.

First, the way it could happen:

1. Memphis drafts Rubio #2

2. OKC takes Harden at #3

3. Sacto takes Evans or Thabeet at #4

4. At #5, Wolves pick whomever Sacto doesn't take a the #4

The Wolves then package the player picked at #5 along with some combo of picks and players (#6, #18, # 28, Smith, etc.) and trade the package for Rubio and filler.

Now, why it should happen:

1. Memphis and Rubio don't want or need each other, but Rubio needs the salary of the #2 pick to help offset the costs of his buyout.

2. Hoping that Rubio slides to the 5th pick not only means that OKC or Sacto might take him, but that some other team might make a mind-blowing offer to OKC or Sacto to get Rubio before the Wolves can take him.

3. Rubio is the only player besides Griffin for whom any team would make a mind-blowing offer. That speaks to both his talent, potential, and value he might bring back to the Wolves now or in the future.

4. An effective pass-first distributor is much more difficult to find, and more valuable to a team like the Wolves than an efficient-scoring 2-guard. I also think Rubio's value comes from his decision-making, rather than his athleticism, so I believe he will have a longer NBA career than if the strengths and weaknesses were reversed.

5. Here are Rubio's stat lines from the Gold Medal game in the Olympics, where he was playing with an injured hand:

FG3ptFTOffRebAstStlBS
Rudy Fernandez 7 - 13 5 - 9 3 - 3 0 2 2 1 0 22
Pau Gasol 9 - 18 0 - 0 3 - 5 4 6 1 0 0 21
Juan Carlos Navarro 6 - 14 0 - 2 6 - 8 0 3 4 0 0 18
Carlos Jimenez 3 - 4 2 - 3 4 - 4 1 3 1 1 0 12
Marc Gasol 5 - 9 0 - 1 1 - 2 3 5 1 0 0 11
Felipe Reyes 5 - 8 0 - 0 0 - 0 3 7 2 1 1 10
Ricky Rubio 1 - 3 0 - 1 4 - 4 1 6 3 3 0 6

He had some impressive teammates in that game, to be sure. But their opponents were at least the second-best basketball team ever assembled. Wade, Kobe, LeBron, CP3, Carmelo, DHoward, etc. were certainly better than any other college player any of the other potential picks went up against in college. But the age-equivalent of a kid just finishing his junior year in high school held his own against talent far superior to any that he will face against a regular NBA team.

6. Harden's nice, I really like Curry, and Evans is intriguing. But none of them have the potential to be the type of game-changer that Rubio can be. And, if the Wolves can keep the 6th pick, Curry or Harden (or Thabeet, for that matter) could still be available.

7. No player (Griffin included) will energize the casual fan like Rubio. Beyond just the passer-by basketball fans. Case in point:  Have you been to a Twins game recently? Girls and women go there. Nice ones, and nice looking ones. That didn't happen when Roy Smalley was prowling the middle infield, and it's no coincidence that fan interest has increased with the addition of young, appealing starts like Mauer and Morneau. I don't think Kahn will get Rubio just because he looks like the Jonas Brothers' cousin, but Kahn won't avoid Rubio because of it, either.

8. As has been mentioned elsewhere, don't discount David Stern's hand in getting a young, flashy, international player to the team that is now run by Stern's hand-picked candidate. If Memphis needs some coaxing in the deal, Stern will be there to provide it.

9. If you need further convincing of Rubio's skills, go to the profile of this year's point guards at the highly-regarded HoopsAnalyst:

There’s enough good and potentially great in Ricky Rubio’s numbers to make him one of the top picks in this draft. If I were a GM my top priority was a PG that I could develop and wait a season or two on, I would do everything in my power to land this guy. Any player that dominates in Europe on at least some level at ages 17 and 18 the way he has is a serious prospect. The scoring should eventually get better. If not a stellar combination of passing and defense brought Jason Kidd a pretty strong career and it should do the same for Rubio.

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