I feel like Colin Cowherd for my shameless hook in the title there. Man do I dislike that guy.
Jennings. There is something about this guy. I just don’t like him. Granted this is based off one time seeing him play – the Mickey-Ds All-American game- but I just didn’t like his attitude or his flashy style. That coupled with the fact that he couldn’t get his grades/SATs high enough to get into Arizona (can’t the athletics department get ANYONE in?) make me doubt him. You cannot deny his athleticism. The kid can fly and is quick. But is he a point guard? Your point guard should be a leader. Something about this guy does not make me feel comfortable with him leading our team. While Bibby’s leadership skills weren’t obvious, his consistency alone was a great leadership quality. Also, how many points a game will come from the opposing backcourt if ours weighs less that 350 pounds combined? Sure, the reports out of Europe say he has handled his situation with class and maturity, but I don’t know if I am convinced. Something about this kid makes me feel as though he’d take making sportscenter over winning a game. I want a winner.
Tyreke Evans is probably not a point guard. Can someone please give me an example of a player that was a good scorer in college, considered a tweener for the NBA, who actually made it as a point guard? I’m not saying this guy doesn’t exist, but I can’t think of him. While the Princeton offense doesn't necessarily require a traditional point guard, I doubt Tyreke is a fit. If in fact Petrie thinks we need to take a bit of the scoring burden off of Kevin Martin sometime in the next few years, then Evans might be the best fit. I do think he could be taught to move off the ball and could benefit from Spencer’s high post passing. However, contrary to other StRers, I think he has an equal amount of bust-potential as Jrue Holiday. Sure, he'll be a good scorer with the ball in his hands - pretty sure that's a no-brainier, but will he be a team player? Why didn’t he play as well off the ball? Does he not understand how to move without the ball? Does he not have the b-ball IQ to know when to make the proper cuts? Could he be taught these things or will he demand the ball be in his hands? If he does turn out to be a good player, will he learn to be loyal to small market team as K-Mart has or is he the type to run when his rookie deal ends? Will he be a good locker room guy? This team is too young and fragile to have a bad apple poisoning them. That being said, he is the craftiest scorer in this draft not named James Harden. He is effing huge for the PG position (although it’s strange that I have no memories of him dunking) and if he could develop a 3-ball, he could be one of the better scorers in the NBA. Note I did not say one of the better point guards in the game. I don’t love him, but I’d be happier with him than with Jennings. At the very least, he would be incredibly fun to have as a scoring 6th man during his rookie year, while he learns to play with a team.
Jrue Holiday actually seems like he could be a point guard. While he didn’t play the point in college and will have a lot to learn before he is an effective NBA point guard, I see him being able to play right away. Put him in the game for defense, have him bring the ball up and then throw it into the high post. While you need to teach him some PG skills and the Princeton offense, you cannot teach incredible size or defensive desire. Sure there is the argument that a great player should be able to show he’s great in college, but if there’s one coach who is strong-willed enough to keep his players within his system, its Ben Howland. I don’t know if it’s a guy repping the guys paying his bills, but Thorpe said he sees a little CP3 in this kid. Darren Collison, who will be selected after Holiday, despite playing point for a team that made 3 straight Final Fours, said the kid has scary potential. He is barely shorter than Evans and does not have Evan’s incredible scoring ability, but he makes up for it with defense and potential to actually be a legit point guard. Why not draft a player with massive upside/potential who is huge and already a good defender? Geoff Petrie already made that mistake passing on Rondo and I doubt he’ll do it again.
Now for what I claimed would be a short piece on Little Ricky Rubio. My roommate (a warriors fan who has a soft spot for the kings after I forced him to watch about 80% of their games last season, despite 79% of those being losses for the purple and white) and I have been in love with the idea of Ricky Rubio ending up on either of our teams ever since we watched (and rewatched) Ricky’s highlight videos on YouTube. Being that the Dubs have no shot at him now that the lottery is over, my roommate has joined me in hoping the Kings get him (or at least is successfully pretending to). However, time has passed and I have had time to put a little thought into Rubio… I have my doubts. Perhaps this is my mind subconsciously preparing me for the fact that he will not be a King next year, but perhaps I’m a little nervous that the kid is a little risky to use our only top 5 pick in years for. First off, there is his slight frame. Yes he is probably just finishing up puberty (Jrue Holiday is the same age, by the way), but who knows if his body will ever be able to handle 82 games a year plus international duties. Then there’s the fact that he is 18 and moving away from home. Spain is like a 15 hour flight. Who knows if he will miss the paella, the warm topless beaches of the Mediterranean, or the boy-band ass he’s currently pulling? Next, who is to say he will guard anyone? Yes he seems to have the desire and yes he is great at tallying up the steals, but man-to-man? Against Chris Paul? Tony Parker? Aaron Brooks? Deron Williams? How about the freak athletes like Westbrook and Rose? I love that little Spanish sensation, but I wouldn’t put my money on him staying in front of ANY of those guys- all of which are going to be around a long time. Of course you could argue that his offense out-weighs his defense. If he elevates the play of the other four guys on the court, then this could definitely be true. Wait… I going down the wrong route here. No positives about this guy, just the continued (not-so) subconscious self-convincing that it’s okay if we don’t get Rubio. The problem: If Rubio turns out to be injury prone, homesick or a total defensive liability, what is the worst that could happen? Well, for one, Sacramento could lose its team. [Sidenote, I have no idea who the hell I’ll root for if the Kings? Would I be able to love them if they played next to Disney Land? Would the time spent writing this post be in haste as I try to rid my mind of the memory of the back cuts and C-Webb’s infectious smile? The biggest sports fanatic I know was a Sonics fan – he claims to have retired from NBA fandom.] I guess my point is that the front office needs to ask themselves ‘Are we in a place to take risks?’. The conservative response would be no - Rely on Petrie to slowly make this team better and we will win the fans back. The pessimist (and in this case, possibly the realist) would say – ‘Unless we get someone like Rubio and he turns out to be everything we want him to be or more, we’re going to lose this team anyway’. In other words, risk is the town’s only hope.
So, to conclude my novella – I doubt we see Rubio in a Kings jersey next year. If he is not in purple later this month, it’s not the of the world as I doubt he is as much of a homerun as we all seem to believe. I very much feel and hope the Kings should take Holiday at that point as he has the lowest risk-to-upside ratio, in my opinion, being that he fits our needs better than the other two players discussed above. If a situation arises where the Kings can trade down a couple picks and still take Holiday, then they should do it as Holiday plus another pick is obviously better than Holiday. Either way, I am excited to have new players on the Kings. Furthermore, and in order to end positively, while we had the worst team in the league last year, our Summer League team is going to mop the floor with the other 29 summer league teams. DONTE GREENE: LeBron James of the Summer League.