Because we don't have enough to argue about as it is, I thought I would post Ricky Rubio's 2008 Olympic stats, per 36 minutes:
9.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 3.9 turnovers, 4.1 steals on 28% from the field, 17% from three and 78% from the line. Rubio shot 5.6 free throws per 36 minutes.
For the sake of comparison, here are the stats from Rubio's teammate and fellow point guard Jose Calderon: (Calderon is 9 years older and averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 assists for the Raptors last season.)
12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.3 turnovers, .87 steals on 40% from the field, 33% from three and 100% from the line. Calderon shot 1.5 free throws per 36 minutes.
The obvious question is, what conclusions can we draw from these stats? I think we have to be careful about making blanket observations for a number of reasons. First, the sample is small. Rubio played 8 games and Calderon played 6. Second, international basketball is a different style from NBA basketball, so one doesn't necessarily translate to another. On the other hand, Olympic basketball talent is as close to NBA talent as you can get. There are a significant number of NBA and NBA-caliber players in the Olympics, so I think there is some value in looking at these statistics.
Having said all that, Rubio didn't score much, but had great rebounding numbers for his position. His steal numbers were off the charts and he drew a ton of fouls. On the negative side, his shooting was absolutely horrific and his turnovers were way too high.
There has been talk that Rubio's only real strength is passing, and that may be true. But these numbers suggest that rebounding and drawing fouls are also strengths - and those are extremely valuable qualities at the point guard position. Shooting and turnovers can be fixed with practice and experience.
Rubio doesn't remind me of Pistol Pete as much as he reminds me of a younger, more talented, more experienced and more stable Jason Williams. Williams was quick but not particularly athletic, couldn't shoot and threw the ball all over the arena when he came into the league at 23. What's not to like about an exciting, creative player who does the same things and more at 19?