(yes, I took the spaniards homework assignment)
I think Anlmart1 has come up with a very good list of what it would take for Ricky Rubio to show us, and THE WOLRD that he is a top tier PG. This is how I think he is doing on these levels, Report Card style:
[FEEL FREE TO DISAGREE WITH ME IN THE COMMENTS, I LIKE DISCUSSION AND CRITICISM]
1st- Offensive playbook:
The wolves right now have to be working on a very limited play book. The couldn't have had enough time to really hammer out a full offensive play book in the shortened offseason. Plus, they really haven't been practicing so much in this condensed season. To me, Ricky does a remarkable, simply creating offense. When he's on the floor with the second unit, he essentially becomes the offense. Moving the ball, penetrating the lane, and running the simplest, and I would say unmatched in its effectiveness, play in basketball, the pick and roll to near perfection.
The way he and AR were Picking and Rolling last night was awesome. Kevin and him have also had some really good Pick and roll plays. Pick and roll with Rubio running the point just opens up so many options. I think the analysts have done a really good job explaining this. He has an uncanny ability to find open guys, no matter where they are on the court. Of course sometimes this results in turn overs or, in Kevin Love's case, getting knocked in head. Ricky is playing very well offensively, Twitter tells me he's #1 in the nba in Points per possession (pts+ast). That's remarkable.
Although I don't think we have a full playbook, I don't think Ricky will have any trouble at all. I think we will have a pick and roll package for Ricky that will look very much like what we are seeing right now inside of a larger framework of an offense that will maximize on the players potential when Ricky's not on the floor. (That's another thing Ricky does that's amazing. He makes the other players on the court better. See AR. See AT. I mean he puts them in the place where they are the most effective.)
Over all grade for Offensive Playbook: A (very solid)
2nd- Defensive play book
I have been happy with Ricky's start to the season defensively. I really think he's adapted admirably to NBA officiating and it's tendency to open up the perimeter. I was worried he was going to get called for a lot of touch fouls on the ball and that pulling back on his reaching tendencies that he got away with more in spain would make his on ball defense fall apart. To say this short, Ricky Rubio is a smart defender, who is plenty athletic enough to play rock solid on ball defense against 80% or NBA guards (my opinion).
The one area that I think he has to get better at his recognizing when to fight through a screen to the shooter. We saw that last night a couple of times with Derrick Rose. I think he played it the right way though, against the MVP. You can't let Derrick penetrate off of that screen, if you do it's easy buckets for the Bulls, you need to make him shoot the ball. Unfortunately, this year Derrick Rose is showing that he can hit that trey ball and like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller before him showed, consistently made three is greater than a made two, and really makes it easy to close out an opponent.
Toss in the trail blocks, some solid steals by jumping into the passing lanes, and a charge or two. Ricky's doing pretty well defensively. He's surprising me how he's adapting to the NBA defensively (Offensively I always thought NBA perimeter officiating would open his game up, and even he says "there's more space".) and proving that Defense will not be the whole in his NBA game. I can only see him get better.
Over all grade for Defensive Play Book: B+ (Solid)
3rd- Scouting opposing teams, especially opposing PGs
I think that Ricky knows a lot about how certain guys like to ball. I mean, he's a basketball geek like me (of course, he's a basketball geek who can actually play, instead of just write and wiggle my thumbs on a Xbox controller). I think he knows pretty well what these guys like to do, and I think it has shown. He challenged all of his buddy Calderon's shots with out biting on pump fakes (of course there more history there), he laid off Russel Westbrook, Rose, and Tony Parker to limit there penetrating abilities, and challenged old man Jason Kidd's trusty three ball. He looks good to me here too. He doesn't seem to be surprised by that many people. T.J. Ford surprised him a bit, but who thinks to scout T.J. Ford? For real?
Over all grade for Scouting: B (completely satisfactory & I don't for see any problems)
4th- Reacting to being scouted against
Ricky's been doing very well in this category too, at least to far. I don't think the NBA have gotten the best sample size of what his tendencies are so this will probably be an on going thing. I think he has over all reacted pretty well to every thing they've thrown at him, except for being manned up by LeBron. But seriously, that's LeBron, a world class athlete, if not "history of the world" class athlete.
The tricky thing with Ricky is that he can make so many different plays anytime he has the ball. His court vision, and passing accuracy allows him to put passes on the open man regardless of where the open man is. It's pretty incredible. We saw Ronnie Brewer play the Rubio's passing lanes pretty well picking off that one pass, but I'll take that if it continues to give Kevin Love , or the others, open three pointers.
Overall grade for his Reaction to being scouted: B- (He's doing pretty well, well see though as time progresses)
Well, can't say I haven't been impressed in this regard. It seems to me he's been on a pretty good hot streak thought. This will also be a pretty fun to see how he progresses. It just means growing his game. I want to see the kind of progression that Jason Kidd had. He was not a great shooter at all, and he's progressed into being a pretty good shooter. I want to see Ricky make his shot a quicker. He takes a lot of time to load up that flick. I really liked the little leaner that he hit last night though after dribbling around Loul Deng. Also when Ricky goes up for lay-ups he does a really good job using his length to draw contact still get his shot off. I hope he can find a way to use that length more ... somehow ... (I guess I don't know what I mean here, but for some reason I think it makes sense)
Overall grade on his Shot: C+ (It's pretty good, good enough to be effective, not good enough yet to be a superstar)
6th- Taking Care of the Ball
In comparison to the rest of the team. Ricky looks really good. There have been a couple of times when his decision making has been questionable. Specifically times when he has unwisely pushed the ball up court. Most of the time, though, he his making many more play, than turn overs. That definitely shows in the Points per possession catagory that I mentioned earlier. He's taking care of the ball pretty well and his mistakes, we can live with because he's making that same play much of the time. The tricky part will be when teams and players start to get a better grasp of how he plays. Can he keep this production up and continue to improve his and the teams ball control? This is certainly connected to how he reacts to being scouted and we definitely effect whether or not he becomes a NBA histroy top tier point guard.
Over all Grade on Ball Control: B (It's been satisfactory, can it get better?)
7th- Can he hold up with the minutes he will play and the number of games that the NBA plays?
Is he durable enough? It seems like he's been playing well but will he still have the spring in his step late in the season or during a future playoff run? How does his game hold up later in his career when his athleticism and quickness wanes?
Over all Grade on Durability: ? (We can't know right now, he hasn't played enough)
8th- Will he disappear if the wolves acquire a "Navarro" like ball handling scorer who needs the ball and is effective?
If he disappears when he's not running the show, that will definitely change things.
Grade: again that's a big ?
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