So despite reports that the Thunder are "locked in" on Rubio, I am sticking to my guns and saying that this is still a major smokescreen by them in order to force Minnesota or us to try to give up more assets to trade up for him. At the end of the day, I just can't see Rubio fitting in Presti's plans for 3 reasons:
1 - Rubio will need to dominate the ball in order to be effective. The problem there is that Westbrook also needs to dominate the ball in order to be effective. These are two players who need to initiate the offense to be at their best. However, the Thunder still need to have Durant creating a fair number of plays himself. He is a special offensive talent and I am not sure they want to relegate him to a Kevin Martin type off the ball scorer.
2 - Neither Rubio or Westbrook can shoot. That's a big problem for a starting back court, especially since the Thunder don't have a Matt Bonner type center who can help spread the floor. On any possession started by Green or Durant, the opposing defence could just sag into the paint and pressure the ball. And while Westbrook and Rubio certainly can improve their outside shooting, neither is even a good shooter now meaning that improvement is likely a couple of years away, which is a part of #3.
3 - Rubio may take 3-4 years to really develop. This isn't a problem for a team like the Kings. However, the Thunder are a small market team with a big time player who will be a free agent in two years. The Thunder need to show improvement and give Durant motivation to resign with them and not bolt for a bigger city. Rubio may be spectacular down the road, but his presence might actually make the Thunder a worse team the next year or two for all the reasons listed in #s 1 and 2. Presti knows this and must be feeling at least some pressure to keep the team improving each season. Adding a player like Harden to the team will immediatley make them better without being a shortsighted move either. Harden is only 19 himself and shows a lot of room for growth.
So barring a trade by Memphis or OKC, I still think Rubio is there at #4 if we want him. Even if the Thunder draft him, I will make the bold prediction that he is traded before the season starts. Presti does like to gamble and might feel he can get better value out of a Rubio trade than anyone else on the board. However, Rubio on the Thunder makes no sense.
I have been wrong plenty of times in the past and may be again today, but my logic and instincts say the Thunder make a trade or draft Harden/Curry and Rubio winds up donning purple and black next season.