Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Morning Dump

- One-armed kid gets a D1 scholarship to play basketball at Manhattan. Pretty inspiring stuff.

- Two great reads on Ricky Rubio as a prospect - TrueHoop's take, and a piece from Scott Cacciola from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. Don't get too excited if you are a Memphis fan, however. Right now, Rubio does not have to come over to the NBA, and if he is not happy with the team that picks him, he may never make the trip. According to a Givony source, there are really only two factors that are going to affect the decision: the role he will play on the team, and winning.

(photo credit: SportsAlex)

So think about this - if Memphis already has their point guard of the future in OJ Mayo, and all Rubio hears about the city and the organization comes from Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro, is he going to want to be a Grizzly? Doubtful.

What Rubio needs is a place where he can slowly be worked into the line-up, which will allow him to develop as a player without the burden of having to carry an NBA franchise. He is an uber-talented passer, especially in the open court (the Jason Kidd comparisons are perfect), but he is not a great scorer as of yet, and it is going to take him time to adjust to playing against NBA-level point guards.

If you are an NBA fan and your team happens to land Rubio, just remember this - not every 18 year old is LeBron James or Darko Milicic. Believe it or not, most younger prospects will land somewhere in the middle.

Before we move past Rubio, this youtube clip is definitely worth the watch. Think about this while you do - how hard are his teammates cutting and running the floor? That's a sign of a great leader. When you know you are going to get the ball if you are open, you will work your butt off to get open.

- Is Blake Griffin still a lock for the #1 pick? From the Oklahoman:
Hours after last Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, the official Web site for the lottery-winning Los Angeles Clippers had already plastered a photo of Blake Griffin on its home page in hopes of generating season ticket sales. But by Friday morning, the team’s site had adjacent shots of Griffin and Ricky Rubio, implying this year’s top selection is a debate rather than the no-brainer decision that led general manager and coach Mike Dunleavy to pronounce, "Clearly we’re taking Blake Griffin.”

- For those that haven't heard, Florida's Nick Calathes is headed to Greece. Most in the college basketball community, including myself, were a bit puzzled by this decision, but Jonathon Givony of Draft Express has a different perspective:
Much of the criticism Calathes is receiving stems from the fact that he is considered by many to be a potential late-first round NBA draft pick. If there is anything we’ve learned from covering the draft over the past six years, it’s that it is virtually impossible to project who will ultimately get drafted in the late first round and who will slip to the second. Calathes could very well have gone in the 30’s and ended up with a non-guaranteed contract, only to get cut in training, as many second rounders often are.

If anything, Calathes may have improved his draft stock with this move. There are a number of teams in the late first round—such as New Orleans, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Chicago who either have multiple picks or may not be interested in adding another guaranteed contract/roster spot to their team at this point. The fact that Calathes will play for one of the most decorated coaches in the world in Zeljko Obradovic on someone else’s coin and come back a much better player in one year has to look attractive. With Sarunas Jasikevicius reportedly on the way out of Panathinaikos, a decent amount of playing time will be opened up for him.

Although Calathes will forgo attending the NBA draft combine and the group workouts he’s scheduled for in Golden State, Minnesota and New Jersey, it’s not a given that he withdraws from this draft just yet. He will reportedly be very selective with the teams he decides to visit and make the call on June 15th based on what he’s hearing. Although he probably would like to go in the first round from an ego perspective, it may make more sense for him financially to be drafted in the second round now, as that would leave more flexibility for his agent to negotiate his rookie contract next season. Lately we’re seeing European players like Victor Claver and Christian Eyenga do whatever they can to avoid the rigid salary structure of the rookie scale and not fall into the trap that Rudy Fernandez and Tiago Splitter fell into—being forced to give up substantial amounts of money for the right to play in the NBA.
- Slow day this morning, so catch up on yesterday's Morning Dump.

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