(PART 2 added)
First of all let me say that I am European (Greek) and I confess that I never liked international basketball. I've been collecting NBA cards and stickers since I was 9 years old and I used to "watch" NBA games in text in the late 90s with a dialup connection in greater agony than any euroleague final. It's true that I'm somewhat biased -as pookie told me earlier- towards international basketball. However I still can't get rid of that feeling inside me that says "90% of the international players are busts unless they are 7feet tall so let's give them a try".
I've been critisizing Rubio a lot and I am confident that he is going to be an underachiever at best if he's picked very high. But this FanPost is not going to be an assessment of Rubio's basketball talents. I leave that to experts... although I have to say that watching John Wall's incredible mixtapes and then going back to Rubio's slow pick n rolls, in-bound steals and slow-motion drives where he can barely leave the ground... is a huge draft-buzz-killer.
So, I made a list of all the international players drafted from 2003 to 2007 just to check if my anti-international obsession has a statitistcal ground. By no means this proves anything but I don't think it will mislead either. I left the 2008 draft out since it's too early to make a valid estimation even though I believe that players like Ajinca (20th pick) and some 2nd rounders won't have a job in the NBA soon and could make my stats look better tonight. Of course there are players included in the 03-07 drafts that might decide to play in the NBA later but I really doubt if it's more than 2-3 (maybe the Brazilian Tiago Splitter?)
In order to make the stats a little more valid I left out Asian players (Yi, Sun Yue, Xue Yuyang and Ha Seung-Jin) because of the very low quality of the Chinese/Korean basketball leagues.
PART 1 - INTERNATIONALS
The players in bold are 1st rounders
Belinelli, Fernandez, Splitter, Koponen, Gasol, Seibutis, Fesenko, Barac, Haluska, Printezis, Rakovic (11)
Bargnani, Sene, Pecherov, Rodriguez, Perovic, Vinicius, Eliyahu, Veremeenko, Halperin, Ugboaja, Bavcic, Mavrokefalidis, Markota (13)
Bogut, Vazquez, Korolev, Petro, Kleiza, Mahinmi, Ilyasova, Turiaf, Ukic, Ilic, Andriuskevicius, Lorbek, Gelabale ,Gortat, Slokar, Akyol (16)
Araujo, Biedrins, Podkolzine , Khryapa , Monia , Vujacic , Beno, Varejão , Ramos, Miralles, Sanikidze, Spanoulis, Karaulov (13)
Milicic, Pietrus, Cabarkapa, Pavlovic, Planinic, Delfino, Barbosa, Lampe, Schortsanitis, Szewczyk, Vranes, Pachulia, Becirovic, Morlende, Sinanovic, Glyniadakis. (16)
- 69 international players.
- 45 of them are out of the NBA (65%).
- 27 of them were 1st rounders (40%) - 11 of the 1st rounders are out of the NBA (41% of the 1st rounders).
- 17 of them are part of the rotation (25%) (including players with 10mpg).
- 11 of them play more than 20 mins (16%).
- 7 of them play more than 24 mins. (10%).
- 5 of them are normal starters (Bogut, Beno, Biedrins, Gasol, Bargnani - all of them for teams out of the playoffs) (7%).
- 4 of those starters are 7-footers or close (making a point).
- None of them is a star.
You could say of course that once or twice every 10 years a Dirk or a Pau comes along so why not Rubio? I'd say only 7% of the internationals of those 5 drafts are starters and probably only Bogut and Biedrins would have a chance to start for a good team.
What I'm pointing out is that this decade an international trend broke out because of a very small number of good players like Dirk, Pau, Peja etc. The number of internationals drafted is not a reflection of the international basketball development which took place. The eyes of the american scouters got blinded by those few stars and they don't seem to learn from the mistakes.
So statistically speaking Rubio has a lot more chances to be a bust than a star. But what makes my belief even stronger is that this very sympathetic kid, no matter his virtues, is far from quick and athletic. And If he doesn't have these skills at 19, he never will. Remember this is the NBA we're talking about, the need for athleticism is much bigger than the slow 5on5 possessions in Europe. He's not a killer from the perimeter either. So that just leaves him court vision and -uncertain because of his lack of strength/small frame- defense.
Is he better than the other PGs of the draft? If we miss Griffin, is he worth being drafted ahead of other forwards/centers? Will he be much better than Beno??
My answer to all of the questions is "I doubt". I am biased and there are times when I can't see Rubio being better than Eric Snow.. but before I get too far, I'll get off my train of thought now and thank you for reading this.
PART 2 - AMERICANS
The season is over so why not play a bit more with this. I decided to expand the pool and include all Americans in the 03-07 drafts.
Oden, Durant, Horford, Conley, Green, Brewer, Brandan Wright, Noah, Hawes, Law, Young, Antoine Wright, Thornton, Stuckey, Young, Sean Williams, Crittenton, Smith, Cook, Dudley, Chandler, Almond, Brooks, Affalo, Tucker, Landry, Pruitt, Williams, Fazekas, Glen Davis, Davidson, McRoberts, Richard, Byars, Terry, Jordan, Lasme, McGuire, Aaron Gray, JamesOn Curry, Taurean Green, Nichols, Newley, Hill, Sessions, Mejia, Strawberry. (25+22=47)
Aldridge, Morrison, Tyrus, Shelden Williams, Roy, Foye, Gay, O'Bryant, JJ Redick, Armstrong, Sefolosha, Ronnie Brewer, Cedric Simmons, Carney, Shawne Williams, Douby, Balkman, Rondo, Marcus Williams, Boone, Lowry, Shannon Brown, Farmar, Ager, Mardy Collins, Freeland, James White, Novak, Solomon Jones, Paul Davis, PJ Tucker, Craig Smith, Bobby Jones, Noel, Denham Brown, James Augustine, Gibson, Alexander Johnson, Dee Brown, Millsap, Powe, Hollins, Diaz, Adams, Pinnock, Blalock (26+22=48)
Marvin Williams, Deron, Paul, Felton, Webster, Villanueva, Frye, Diogu, Bynum, May, McCants, Wright, Graham, Granger, Gerald Green, Warrick, Hodge, Nate, Jack, Cisco, Head, Maxiell, Simien, David Lee, Salim Stoudemire, Ewing, Bass, CJ Miles, Sanchez, Diener, Wafer, Monta, Taft, Louis Williams, Bracey Wright, Blatche, Gomes, Whaley, Harvelle, Orien Greene, Dijon Thompson, Roberts, Amir Johnson, Acker (24+21=45)
Howard, Okafor, Gordon, Livingston, Harris, Childress, Deng, Iguodala, Luke Jackson, Swift, Telfair, Humphries, Al Jefferson, Snyder, Josh Smith, JR Smith, Dorell Wright, Jameer Nelson, Delonte West, Tony Allen, Kevin Martin, David Harrison, Vroman, Chalmers, Donta Smith, Emmett, Burks, Ivey, Duhon, Reed, Young, Ariza, Pickett, Bernard Robinson, Sow, Minard, Sato, Freije, Paulding, Flores, Douhit, Stepp, Rashad Wright (22+21=43)
LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh, Wade, Kaman, Hinrich, Ford, Sweetney, Hayes, Collison, Banks, Ridnour, Gaines, Troy Bell, David West, Dahntay Jones, Outlaw, Cook, Ebi, Perkins, Josh Howard, Kapono, Walton, J.Beasley, Austin, Hansen, Steve Blake, Zimmerman, Willie Green, Bogans, Bonner, Mo Williams, Lang, James Jones, Korver, T.Smith, Rickert, B.Hunter (21+17=38)
- 221 players
- 68 of them out of the NBA (31%)
- 118 of them were 1st rounders (53%) - 9 of the 1st rounders are out of the NBA (8% of the 1st rounders)
- 19 (9%) of them have more DNPs than games played (either waived or in the NBDL)
- 102 (46%) of them are part of the rotation (10+ mins)
- 67 (30%) of them play 25+ mins (most of them starters)
- 16 of them are leading stars (7%) (excluding players like David West Josh Howard, Mo Williams, Okafor, Aldridge, Lee etc)
It's very clear to me that American players have a lot more chances to become good players. The reason for that? Well they don't have to migrate to a different continent, live in a different culture, leave their family behind, adapt to a very different basketball style but basically.. they are just better players.
30% of all the Americans in these 5 drafts are very important units (25+ mins) for their team. Only 10% of the internationals have a similar role.
About 15% of the Americans are really good players ranging from "sidekick" monsters (like Josh Howard, David West, David Lee etc) to superstars like LeBron, Paul etc.
The best international players don't even come close to that 15% quality.
For every Biedrins there is an Okafor, a Howard, a Bosh, an Al Jefferson and a Bynum.
For every Rubio, there is a Paul, a Deron, a Roy, a Mo Williams, a Felton.