A few things have become apparent in the wake of Ricky Rubio's solo workout with the Kings this afternoon.
1. No media viewed the workout.
2. The Kings will not be releasing video they shot.
I attended only one pre-draft workout this season, though the Kings were gracious enough to invite me to all of them. I went to the first Tyreke Evans workout. The team opened the curtain for the final 15 minutes or so. We saw Evans post up on Shareef Abdur-Rahim, shoot some free throws and run some coast-to-coast plays.
It was the opposite of enlightening. Even though Evans is seen as an isolation player, the one-on-one audition is so far removed from the exercise of actual basketball, I couldn't make anything of it. Yes, he has two hands, two legs and a torso. Also, a nice goatee. But no one watching that workout -- the 15 minutes we saw, at least -- could declare Evans this percentage better than Stephen Curry, or that amount worse than James Harden. The Kings have their system -- they document the shooting from various places on the floor, they judge the efficacy of a player's move and skills. But in the solo workout, so much is lost.
That's why Sacramento brought Evans back for a second workout! Even though they went 3-on-3 in the Sunday pointguardpalooza, they decided they needed something more approximating real basketball to make a decision on Evans and Jonny Flynn (and others). And lo! Evans is reportedly back on top of the heap at No. 4.
Evans in a solo workout: disappointing. Evans in a reasonable basketball facsimile: great.
Rubio did a solo workout. The Kings official blog reported he did a one-hour set of drills, followed by the standard athletic testing other prospects (excluding Hasheem Thabeet) completed in Chicago. There has been only report leaked out from the session so far, to ESPN.com's Chad Ford:
Several sources surrounding the Kings said Rubio didn't blow anyone away.
Who could possibly leak this out, considering there was no media involved? Why, the same people apparently discrediting Rubio in gossip columns: Kings scouts. In fact, Ford touches on this issue.
Given the fact that the Kings are so dreadful at the moment, wouldn't they choose the best player for the long-term health of the franchise? It depends. Most of the Kings' front office staff is in the last year of their contract. Do they want to stick their necks out for Rubio when they could take a safer pick like Evans or Flynn?
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had a similar note this morning:
Something important to keep in mind is that long-time Kings General Manager Geoff Petrie has just one year left on his contract, and that ownership is putting a great deal of pressure on him to ensure that they don’t go through as painful a season as they just did in 08-09, winning just 17 games. With that in mind, they may opt to just put a Band-Aid on the problem and draft a more ready player, such as Tyreke Evans or Jonny Flynn ... and hope that things magically get better next season.
Of course, this could be the other side -- the side that wants Rubio in Sacramento -- spinning Givony and Ford. The timing, though, is weird. And it's obviously clear Ford is talking to someone in Sacramento Kings basketball operations -- he paraphrased a Kings scout over the weekend, and has the first published report with internal reaction to Rubio's workout. (Would Dan Fegan admit to Ford the workout sucked knowing how limited the pool of reports that will come from Sacramento will be?)
So that's what we have going into Tuesday: Rubio worked out solo, which means little. Someone is spinning it to Chad Ford (and maybe eventually others, like Amick and Givony) that it means Ricky doesn't belong in Sacramento. Someone in the Kings scouting department has been arguing that point for a week. Someone in the Kings scouting department potentially feels the need to avoid Rubio to save their job (the most backwards thinking in recent memory).
It's your choice to decide whether to believe the talk. Only you can fight forest fires.