Just watched Barcelona demolish French side Asvel Basket (the game was Thursday, but NBAtv aired it today). Rubio looked very impressive. The fact that he slipped to 5 makes at least two of the four teams that passed on him look sillier by the day.
First off, teams have to respect his jumpshot now. All the talk pre-draft was about how he couldn't hit from any distance. That's not the case anymore. He was burying contested jumpers and went 3/4 from deep. This was very encouraging.
I know this was never a doubt, but man, he can pass and the way he runs an offense is incredible for a kid his age. 7 assists in just under 22 minutes and when he was on the floor, Barca seemed to actually run plays. When he came out in the fourth, he was replaced with a Mo Williams style point guard, and while they continued to pull away, it was mostly because they couldn't miss from long range. The offense without Ricky seemed to be based on passing the ball around the perimeter and wait for someone to fire up a triple. It worked, but it wasn't like the complex motion, drive, kick, pick and roll stuff they were running with Ricky. They simplify the offense for his veteran backup. Amazing.
He really looked like he wanted back in the game after he got pulled late in the 3rd. It was a blowout and he really wanted to play. Gotta love that. The rest of his team, in contrast, seemed bored. This dominating thing must be old hat to them.
I'm not worried about his athleticism. While he is quicker than a lot of his competition was today, that's not how he was getting to the basket. He moves fluidly, uses screens very well and makes smart cuts. He's also very intelligent on the defensive end. Again, a good sign that he won't need to be a phenomenal athlete to make a serious impact. I don't care what his 40 time is or that he doesn't elevate like Josh Smith- he knows how to get it done.
And some random odds and ends about watching Euroleague:
-The baskets are different. It took me forever to realize why the game looked so different and the way the ball bounces off the rim and the net that narrows at the bottom, preventing the wonderful *swish* I'm so used to really threw me off.
-No self-respecting American team would wear lime green jerseys. Shame on you, Asvel.
-Barcelona's jerseys, on the other hand, look really good. Can we get some jersey stripes in the States?
-The announcer was quieter than the crowd on the broadcast and referred to most shots inside the arc as "two pointers," even layups. This was both really cool, and really confusing (it doesn't sound nearly as weird in writing as it did during the game).
-Barcelona trots out an all-star team of guys who were drafted, but didn't want to play in the states. Juan Carlos Navarro and Fran Vasquez looked really good out there and I kept waiting for Jorge Garbajosa to appear. He did not.
-I want more Euroleague in my life. The passing, the wacky lanes, the random Americans I'd never heard of. It's great.
Can't wait to see Ricky in a Wolves jersey. You guys have a winner.