Clippers Need To Consider Ricky Rubio

In every interview with every Clippers official since they literally won the lottery, Clippers executives have made it clear they are going to draft Blake Griffin. The Clippers are already using him to sell season tickets. The deal is done.

It’s a good, safe pick that will not backfire. Blake Griffin is not going to flop in the NBA, and he may well have a fantastic career.

But over the last few years, the NBA has become a league about the point guard (and LeBron, who essentially has the skills of a point guard in Karl Malone’s body). The NBA changed the hand checking rule on the perimeter — you can’t hand check the guy you are guarding — and the result is that speedy point guards are suddenly at a premium.

Look at who is lighting up the league — and filling seats. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson, and the list goes on. All smaller, quick point guards. Even little known guys such as Houston’s Aaron Brooks can cause serious problems for a team because of their quickness — just ask the Lakers.

Ricky Rubio can be one of those guys, and he will fill seats. He is a showman in the Pete Maravich mold (although less a scorer and more a passer than Pistol Pete).

You might remember Rubio from the Olympics last summer — Rubio played for Spain at 17 and may have been the Silver Medal team’s best backcourt player. He is quick, he runs the fast break well and he is an excellent passer.

There are holes in Rubio’s game — starting with his outside shot, which is inconsistent. At best. Sounds like a big thing, but you can teach shooting. You can’t teach quickness or incredible court vision. Rubio’s biggest weakness is correctable.

There certainly is more risk in taking Rubio over Griffin — young European players can fall short in the NBA. He is smaller and by nature more frail. And frankly, the free-flowing Rubio may chaff against the button-down system and style of Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy. Barron Davis certainly did.

But Rubio could be spectacular, a showman. He will land in Memphis and make spectacular passes to athletic wings like OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay. Memphis is going to be an entertaining team to watch next year, and in stretches will be spectacular.

The Clippers will be better next season with Griffin. But entertaining, that is yet to be determined.

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