Ricky Rubio with his snippets of video highlights, game appearances and press releases has successfully managed to garner international interest, a probably NBA Lottery contract, and a line of endorsements that would make even Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag whine, "Why is he getting all the publicity?"
So where is he and why isn't he here?
Although the Spanish sensation is young, I doubt for a second that his career and future 'corporation' are nothing less than a calculated if not schemed maneuvering to maximize his fortune and fame without the expense or risk of having to prove himself on the court--at least not in a traditional sense. In other words his camp is a marketing genius leaving us awe struck and thirsty for more while we ponder if it is justifiable hoopla or a hoodwink in the making. His body of work is as streaky as his game, one minute he is filling the stat sheet with productive razzle dazzle and another he is biding his time on the pine.
From his camp's perspective what is the upside in coming out of hiding right now other than for PR interivews? There is no need to prove the detractors correct by showing up and looking average against the other PGs that will comprise the middle to later portion of the first round. Most of the workouts are individual drills and 3 on 3s where his outside shot that comes free with a quirky release (picture Kevin Martin watching with glee in his eyes as he thinks to himself, mine looks better than that) and lack of physicality will be accentuated over his creative passes, steals, alley oops and ability to execute the pick-n-roll.
Five on five camps that feature full court looks for scouts also make sense to pass up as most of those venues help showcase athletic abilities and one on one skills as their isn't sufficient time to develop offensive schemes and cohesion between players. Rubio's prowess is going to be better served where he knows his teams' abilities and has a feel for where and when to pass the rock. The motley crue he would play with in these pick up games are ill prepared for his passing antics. Specifically his assists would likely be less and turnovers higher--no need for that to be highlighted.
Given his camps preference for the big markets any additional proof that he is the next Bond will only further incite Memphis and OK to remain geeked on him as their next star. Selfishly, he will make more cake if he drops in the draft and gets to play in a bigger market despite a down scaled starting salary. BTW - Don't buy into the philosophy that he won't be able to pay the piper back in Spain as his first real endorsement will more than cover that tab if he ultimately loses his pending arbitration.
Finally, given the polls of public opinion, there is no real upside that the Clippers are going to take a chance on Rubio over Blake, who has spent more time in Hollywood this last month than Britney Spears. So why showcase anything there so that the other teams can steal looks or hear rumors that either erode his enigma or complicate his destiny to another more attractive market.
Let's be frank: He belongs in New York or LA where his marquee potential can rival his basketball gifts. Anywhere else will only be a 3 year hiatus before his free agent stock would illicit a bloated overpaid contract in a big market anyway. Sacramento could get a lot better with Rubio, but I doubt he would stay in Sacramento unless we are threatening to win an NBA championship and we have already voted that we are at least 2 seasons away from making the playoffs.
Furthermore, I honestly don't recall a time when there was this much attention given pre-draft for a bunch of semi-talented high risk/high reward players, especially at the guard position. With Rubio leading the pack, it is safe to say that very few of us are fully committed to any PG in this draft and yet we all feel at least 3 PG and 3 Combo guards would make our team better in a hurry.
What gives most of anxiety is using the 4th pick on someone that doesn't become an All Star for the Kings. To make matters worse none of us are convinced anyone will absolutely become a top 10 player in the NBA from this draft. If I am wrong on that please speak up or or ever hold your peace.
SO, after reading about several other team's needs and blogs and there definitely seems to be some interest in the trade machine around Rubio. If we play our hand right we can leverage Rubio's lust for the limelight while satiating our desire for a player that wants to and can start for our Kings while improving the team elsewhere.
In my next post, I will detail why I think this makes sense and possibly what our options are.