Breakin' it Down

Loyal Readers of StR, I submit to you the following post for your consideration.  I apologize in advance.

We're going to break this down in my best impression of pookeyguru, although not quite as long (that's what she said?).  This post is a conglomeration of ideas and ruminations on the debate that divides us.  Rubio or Griffin?  Griffin or Rubio?  This debate rages on and has torn the digital realm of StR into to factions.  Let us first recognize that we will not settle this debate.  This will continue on even after the draft has passed.  The only three ways this gets settled are 1) if the players we end up drafting becomes the clear-cut best player from this draft, 2) Rubio doesn't declare, or 3) we don't end up with a top 2 pick.  Sorry to be the turd in the punchbowl with numbers 2 and 3, but as of right now nothing is certain. 

So with that in mind, this post is not meant to be argumentative.  I prefer Rubio, so my bias may show through, but I'm trying to break this down as evenly as I can.

And if you're tired of this debate (and frankly, aren't we all?), I'll throw in a picture of some kittens:



The Breakdown


Blake Griffin

What We Know:

  • Dude can dunk.  Seriously.  On a 10-foot rim and everything.
  • Dude can rebound.
  • The Kings need rebounding.
  • Collegiate Player of the Year
  • Considered the best college player in the draft

    What We Don't Know:

  • Is he a franchise player?
  • Can he develop a left hand?
  • Can he play defense?
  • How tall is he, and how well can he play basketball with his shoes off?

    Ricky Rubio

    What We Know:

  • Kid has been playing professionally overseas since he was 15
  • Kid plays in what is considered the highest level of foreign league
  • Kid can pass and handle
  • Kid can score
  • Good height for a PG
  • Played for Spain in the Olympics, including a showdown with Team USA against the likes of Kidd, Paul and Williams

    What We Don't Know:

  • If he's so good, why isn't he the starter on his Euroleague team?
  • Can his game translate to the NBA?
  • Can he develop as a perimeter scorer?
  • Can he overcome a lack of athleticism?
  • Dude can score, but can he shoot?  The knock has been a lack of shooting ability, most points come close to the rim or when he has time to spot up.
  • Will he declare?
  • Can his buyouy be negiotated with and lowered?

    So what does it all mean? 

    Griffin is more of a known quantity here in the U.S.  We've been able to see his games.  We've watched him play very well in the NCAA.  He has questions marks, but he'll be an NBA player for quite some time.

    Rubio is less known to us here in the states, but he's been playing at a high level for quite a while already.  I think Rubio is more of a hit-or-miss prospect.  He might be the second coming of Steve Nash or Jason Kidd.  He might be the next Sarunas Jasikevicius.  He might end up somewhere in between.

    My Opinion

    I think Rubio's passing and court vision are desperately needed on this team.  Of course, we all know the warnings about drafting for need rather than taking the best player available.  But how do you decide the best player available?  Is it the player you've seen more of and is a known quantity?  If so, Orlando should've drafted Emeka Okafor instead of Dwight Howard.  You evaluate players, and determine which player you think is best.  I don't envy Geoff Petrie in this draft.  It will not be an easy task if he must decide between the two.  If both players are evaluated to be of relatively equal ability levels, then why wouldn't we take the player who fills a need? 

    To borrow a few common comparisons, let's say you know that Rubio will be the next Nash/Kidd/Paul/etc.  And let's say you know that Griffin will be the next Malone/Boozer/West/etc.  You would decide by need at that point.  Unfortunately we cannot be sure what these players will end up as.  But if both are unknowns, it's the same as if both were known.  You have an opportunity to take a basketball player who plays well.  So what do you need?

    The Unspoken Wrinkle

    There's been much discussion around here about our coaching, and that there are slim chances of Kenny Natt being the head coach next season.  Many of us have opined on and pined for Eddie Jordan and his implementation of the Princeton offense.  This offense, as we're all aware, is predicated on lots of player movement, lots of ball movement, and versatility. 

    Is Griffin a good fit?  Is Rubio?  Obviously we're a long way from discussing a new coach's system and how our draft pick(s) fit in.  The team has had 5 coaches in 5 seasons, so maybe we should throw the coach's system out of consideration entirely.  But I think we're all hoping that we can get a long-term coach in place.  Like, soon.

    From what I've seen, Griffin doesn't always move without the ball.  He seems to stand around and call for the ball a lot.  Tough to say if he would thrive in suffer in a complicated offense.  Rubio passing would be a blessing to the Princeton offense, but the concerns about his shooting could be a nightmare.  He is supposed to be very good with the pick and roll, though.

    Ex G, what the hell does it all mean?

    If we're fortunate enough to have the top pick, it's a great problem to have.  Nobody ever wants their team to make the "wrong" pick.  We must remember that either way we should end up with a good player.  Maybe he doesn't end up as a great player, but that's the risk you take with every player.

    For me, it comes down to something I've said before and I'll say again.  I decided a long time ago that Geoff Petrie is much better at talent evaluation than I am.  He knows a lot more about basketball.  I don't envy him being in the position to decide who we draft, but I know one thing:

    In Geoff We Trust.

    (This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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