True Hoops

True Hoops

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Point Guard Project - Ricky Rubio

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Point Guard Project.

Our previous participants:
PGP1- John Lucas
PGP2 - Luke Ridnour
PGP3 - Jrue Holiday

This time we are joined by Ricky Rubio

The PGP questions:

1) Who did you watch play growing up? And whose game did you try to emulate?

2) What was your first memorable point guard match-up, when you first got into the league?

3) What is your definition for the job of a point guard?

4) How do you determine when to shoot vs. when to pass?

5) What is a typical workout for you like?

6) Do you have any words of advice for young aspiring point guards?

Ricky Rubio is a bit of a throw back, if you will. Yes, it's hard to call him a old school point guard, considering that he is only 22 years old and entering his 2nd year in the league. But there is no doubt that in contrast to many of the other scoring point guards that currently dominate the NBA, Ricky is more of a "true" point, a pass first point, that fits more the mold of a Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo.

Ricky was drafted by Minnesota with the 5th overall pick back in 2009 and is listed at 6'4'' and 180 ibs. Of course, Ricky is also from Spain and didn't play in the league until last year. It is an interesting question to ask - whether international point guards may fit the mold of "pure" point better than american point guards. But that is a debate for another day.

Last year, as a rookie, Ricky averaged 10.6 points per game, on 36% shooting to go along with 8.2 assists. Those stats speak volumes to his strengths, along with the fact that Minnesota - after years in the doldrums of the league - had a legit shot of making the playoffs. That is of course until Ricky's season was cut short by a torn ACL (which he is still in the processing of recovering from). Besides the playoffs, one also has to ask if Spain legitimately would have been able to beat the USA in the gold medal game this past Olympics had Rubio played.

FYI, Ricky started playing professional basketball when he was 14 years old. He led Spain to the FIBA-europe under 16 championship - by scoring 51 points to go along with 24 rebounds, 12 assists, and 7 steals in the final game. He was also the youngest player ever, 17, to play in an olympic basketball gold medal game.

Mr Rubio, welcome to the Point guard Project:

Summary of answers:

1) Too young to watch the NBA growing up! It came on at 2-3 in the morning and his mother wanted him to go to sleep. Followed Elmer Bennett in Spain and his brother. When the "youtube" came on he watched Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams. (Elmer Bennett was a point guard at Notre Dame and only played a few years in the league. But he played 12 years in Spain, and a couple with Rubio).

2) First memorable point guard match-up: Derrick Rose

3) The job of a point guard: Be a coach on the court and has to run the team. Has to do the right decision and things. Has to be the brains of the team.

4) When to shoot vs. pass: It depends, shoot when team needs to score and no one wants to shoot. Pass if you see a free guy ready to shoot, go for him.

5) Typical workout: If you feel good you keep shooting, if you don't fell like its a good day you stop so as not to pick up bad habits. It depends on the day and how you feel.

6) Words of advice to aspiring point guards: Not applicable

These answers really are enlightening and speak volumes about age.
Both Rubio and Jrue Holiday are only 22 years old but it is truly amazing to hear how their response differ, especially when it comes to workouts/game preparation. For Rubio, no particular method to his workout? At least none that he let on. "If you feel good, keep shooting." How simplistic is that response? For sure it seems as if at this age he is relying more on "feel" for the game.

It will be interesting to see how Rubio develops with age. Imagine when he starts thinking the game in a methodical manner? How good will he be then? But then again, is it a good thing to think about the game methodically, especially when on the court? It's not like this is molecular biology.

Much thanks to Ricky Rubio for his time!
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Point Guard Project!
Stay tuned for more!

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