As the World Turns: Q&A on Ricky Rubio
Tim Shea as International Coach and consultant with Ricky's Spanish representation Winnersfactory of Barcelona had contact with the Rubio family before his decision to enter the draft and has a unique, inside perspective on the story.
Here is a Q and A with Tim Shea:
Was staying in Europe the best decision for Ricky Rubio?
Personally and as a part of Winnersfactory of Barcelona, I think it’s best that Ricky has allowed himself two full seasons to develop his game against elite international competition, continue to enjoy his family environment and play for titles in all the Euro/ National competitions thereby enabling himself to become a more complete person and player for the future.
This interview re: Ricky and the forthcoming NBA Draft (May 2009) for www.Solobasket.com translated from Spanish in the title are: “Ricky will triumph in the NBA but I think he should stay in Europe for more time.” What I thought then, I think now. Ricky will greatly benefit by this situation. For those who think that playing in the NBA is the “only” aspiration a pro basketball player can have... well... they are wrong. Get over it. Each player's situation is a world in itself and superficial judgments, generalizations and half cracked theories have no place to hide.
With Rubio opting to stay in Europe, ultimately turning down Minnesota's final offer, everyone looks bad, Rubio , agent (Dan Fegan), Minnesota (GM David Kahn) and the NBA. Who had the most to lose by Rubio's decision to stay in Spain? Who looks bad to you?
In the end Ricky is going to do what he was planing to do before Fegan changed his (and his familys) mindset. Ricky was, until then, in conversations with Juventut (through Winnersfactory) to continue only another (1) season in Juventut and leave at age 19 instead of (the planned) age 20. Negotiations were going on regarding his escape clause (being lowered) and his salary (being raised). Dan Fegan, for his own reasons, ignored these facts, surveyed and persuaded the Rubios to declare NOW and bypassed Winnersfactory of Barcelona by approaching Juventut alone. This, I know, was a big mistake. Bad blood I think is the term.
From there, what was a quiet negotiation morphed into an “As the World Turns” soap opera that EVERYBODY is by now sick of seeing and reading about.
So now? Who looks bad? Fugedaboudit. This was Murphy’s Law.
There were obviously some mistakes made during this entire process. Who's to blame?
I’ll bail and give you Stevie Wonder lyrics:
But I’ll blame it on the sun,
The sun that didn’t shine,
I’ll blame it on the wind and the trees.
I’ll blame it on the time, that never was enough,
I’ll blame it on the tide and the sea,
But my heart blames it on me.
I think each and every person in this affair must look at what his input was. I have no doubt that I am not the one to put the blame on anybody. I’m not saying there is no blame... just that each one has to judge himself and not his neighbor.
If by blame you mean do I think certain things should not have happened. Yes. Like declaring for this draft, then staying in it while having a “large” buyout clause standing in the way, especially in this “recession”. I think I understand the reasons (above all the NBAPA-NBA pending negotiations) but as I said above, it was a poorly planned, abrupt, radical break from Ricky’s previous mindset and in a word, hasty. As it played out over the Summer of ‘09 the term ad-libbed comes to mind and as it “snowballed” it gave Ricky time to think twice about the total numbers of the situation and make the wisest choice and the one he was planning before the Summer of ‘09. The only difference being that his club would now be FC Barcelona.
I think in the end everybody wins... for now. Juventut, FC Barcelona and Ricky, while up the road a ways Minnesota and Fegan. In this business ... sometimes you just have to take your lumps and move on.
Has Ricky or his family expressed any regret over his management and what has transpired over the past 6 months?
I would think that they feel like they have been on a Merry-go-round. Just as I thought that, when Ricky got back from his American Pre-NBA Draft visit, he was happy to be back in his own bed and have time to breathe deeply and consider what had happened. From a solid NBA #2 pick he fell to #5. The question is... Why?
I repeat that I don’t think that he should have stayed in this draft... though what is done ... is done.
I’m sure that this experience has been a hard lesson and before moving ahead with any new plans the involved will have this experience to draw and reflect upon.
I do believe it will all turn out OK in the end.
If Rubio stayed out of the draft in 2009, would his future be brighter? How bad has his image been hurt in the US and Spain?
As many as the fans you have you will have those against you. That’s just part of this pro sports business. Ask Kareem, Charles, and Karl M. Now, has he been hurt? Let’s put it this way, I say it will be a footnote in his career. He was a bright star before the 2009 NBA draft. He is a bright star today. He will be a brighter star tomorrow.
What mistakes were made by Rubio and his agent in this process?
Ricky made the mistake of being young. He has however the right to make mistakes being that that’s what young is all about. As to Mr. Dan Fegan I’ll say, Baseball may be our National pastime but Juventut showed that they know how to play hardball too. In these terms, Dan Fegan struck out. His approach and consequent “John Wayne” (guns a blazing) behavior with Jordi Villacampa (Honorable President of Juventut) created a confrontational atmosphere that was counter-productive and hostile situation. Juventut mind you is club with tradition, titles and even Euro-league titles and was founded in 1930! Fegan being a law graduate and obviously successful businessman does get permission to disrespect institutions and solid, professional people. The Euro-League, the ACB and all it’s people are no less than NBA people. Furthermore, trying to bulldog in a foreign country, while unaware of it’s laws, is foolhardy and useless. There was the mistake.
I’m not too sure that Fegan and assoc. will like what is written here and it is not meant to do harm, it’s what happened. My only thought is that in the future it might be wise to follow this law: “When in Rome do as the Romans do”.
Will Rubio ultimately turn out to be a good pick for Minnesota?
At number 5 he’s a steal! Get over it! In two years he would be #1 at the tender age of 20. Knowing he was a risk, a risk worth taking for, Kahn and staff did all they could to make it happen immediately. They can not be blamed for trying. I think that the honorable Minnesota fan base should know that their future has not been hurt by this pick. Whether Kahn eventually moves it (trade) or keeps it, it’s either great bait or worth the wait.
I find it interesting that Mr. Shea called Rubio a solid NBA #2 pick, when everyone knew the question marks surrounding Rubio. And for all the potential he has, his youth wouldnt give any more potential than Perry Jones, Brandon Knight or Harrison Barnes in the 2011 draft. I personally feel that coming of his performance in the Olympics, Rubio's stock wasnt going to get any higher in future years, but I think he should have came to the NBA to improve his game at the highest level. Does anyone see Rubio being farther along than say Jennings or Flynn in two years? Starting and playing against the comp he'll be matching up against for the rest of his playing career would be the best way to improve, especially if Rubio is as 'prodigious' as he's been made to seem.
The only question re: Ricky at #2 or 3 or 4 or 5 was his buyout suituation Mkadoza and like I said...I think it’s best that Ricky has allowed himself two full seasons to develop his game against elite international competition, continue to enjoy his family environment and play for titles in all the Euro/ National competitions thereby enabling himself to become a more complete person and player for the future.
Now.. when I say elite I mean elite.. dont fool yourself. It is elite and any commenthas to take that into consideration... plus.. it's about winning titles.. not just playing.. it's about learning how to win. Thanks for ur comment.
Mr. Tim Shea. I really think Rubio's slide had little to do with his buyout. IMHO it had more to do with what Rubio's game lacks consistent perimeter shooting and he isn't the athlete that a Brandon Jennings or Jonny Flynn is. Don't get me wrong I think Rubio is a great talent but you yourself have commented that he still has a lot to learn. I commend Rubio for taking a step back and seeing where his skills are lacking and working on them. But I also highly doubt that if a team like New York drafted him instead of Minnesota I don't think we would be talking about him staying in Spain right now. Could I be wrong sure but even if I was right would you honestly say so? Anyways great article thanks for all your time Mr. Shea..
Dear Matthew, Trust me on the buyout side of this business. I'd agree with you on some of ur points. There are ways to look at a draft and the only real thing is Ricky was a projected #2 pick for his talent, vision and UPSIDE. The NBA is big on that last point. The players you mentioned are more NBA ready. Granted, if NYK had drafted him.. he would have had a larger market and marketing oportunities. That still does not negate the fact that all the money going to his buyout was coming from his pocket... because sponsors or whoever pays the buyout.. eventually, the player has to pay them back somehow, sometime. At the beginning of the hot draft period process there were two names coming out of the NBA world. Blake and Ricky 1 and 2. Then the snowball started to roll and Ricky went to #5.
Thanks for your observation, thanks for ur comment.
Euroleague is a horrible, horrible league. If this kid is a prodigy like Motzart, than why is he playing in bush league that no one follows? Who the hell knows of these teams outside of their limited markets. You are not going to find Juventut jerseys in Africa, or Asia, or South America. The world doesnt care about second tier leagues. Just like it does not care about American soccer leagues.
The only reason that a deal did not get done is because they are insecure over there. When you deal with an insecure league, they try to make themselves more important than they really are. They have to show that they are in control. In essence they are setting back this kids talent, because all they have down there is scrubs.
Andrea Bargnani played at high level down there for 3 years, and when he came into the NBA he did not even know which way was up or down. I just think, this mismanagement, will just add to Rubio as 'bust' speculation. Does the kid have the capacity to get better or has he peeked. While other talents his age are growing in men's bodies and playing against the best, he is stuck playing with slow stiffs.
It's unfortunate that crappy league has to ruin another great talent.
btw, there such a thing as a bank loan, that can easily spread the buyout over long term. Rubbio is a top pick, and as such is a lock to get one, getting that done is not complicated. You just need good business people.
Spare me the complications, that are not there. This was all about the ego of a league that no one cares about.
The kid already played at a higher level for his NT team. Going back to play with a bunch of guys that could not even make those rosters and rotting there for a year is going to set the kid back.
First off, I'm shocked at no1ninja's ignorance on just about everything. The Euroleagues are a lesser league, but certainly not bad leagues for developing youth. Many stars in Europe can be stars in the NBA, yet they wish not to come here because they simply command more respect and make more money over there.
Rubio is a ball-oriented point guard. Rubio needs to learn how to have a more leadership role. This is the perfect way to develop it. Look at Calderon: while the man is a great offensive force and an above average passer, he is a TERRIBLE defender and brings little in terms of athleticism. What makes him valuable? His leadership. Because he developed his leadership in Europe, he found a home immediately in the NBA. That is the value of Rubio sticking in Europe. Had he gone to the NBA, he may have taken a lesser role, and it would have taken longer to develop his leadership skills.
Why did you bring up Bargnani? Childress played in the NBA for four years and he went over to the Euroleagues and he looks TERRIBLE. He's averaging less points than anywhere in his NBA career. They are different leagues. Learn and educate yourself for christ sakes.
Secondly though... this is addressing you, Tim.
You seem surprised that Rubio went from a consensus number two pick to an actual number five pick. You being so close to Rubio, I think you would have expected this.
Memphis showed CONSIDERABLE interest in Rubio when he announced himself in the draft. It was Ricky Rubio himself that pushed himself as far away from Memphis as possible (or at least this is how the American media portrayed it). Same with OKC. Rubio made is VERY public that he did not want to play in Memphis or Oklahoma. -VERY- clear. He did not even come and train with either team. This pushed both teams as far away from Rubio as possible.
Worse so, I blame Rubio for Sacremento passing over him. There was a lot of talk from the Kings' camp that Rubio refused to do a lot of personal workouts, calling them "worthless." His answers were always very wishy washy. He refused to guarentee that he would actually come to the team if drafted, but demanded he get a fair share of playing time if he did decide to come. There were countless articles posted about how the Kings management were very down on Rubio after they met with him.
So, how can you be shocked that Rubio fell from 2nd to 5th? Why would you ask that question? If you were his representative, you should know all this.
A lot of things I blame on Fergan (he has a history of screwing up young talent in hopes of getting large sums of money). A lot of this I blame on the wolves (they knew Rubio would not play, and they added a slap in the face drafting another point) and a lot of this I blame on Juvenut making the buyout situation as difficult as possible... but I blame Rubio and solely Rubio (and perhaps Fergan and Rubio's parents for bad advice) on why Rubio was selected 5th in the draft. It was not his talent or the question of his talent. It was Rubio himself who pushed these teams away.
Please, you are close to Rubio, I'd appreciate your take on this situation. Correct me if I'm misinterpreting what I've read in the American (and many Spanish) media outlets.
I'm quite shocked at how Rubio's skill level took a nosedive once he became unlikeable. The sky was the limit for Rubio according to just about everyone, and now he can't compete against players like Jennings (overrated, poor decision maker) and Flynn (way too undersized, isn't a true point).
Yes, his jumper is limited... but suddenly I am hearing the CURRENT DPOY OF THE ACB is a bad defender... suddenly I am hearing ONE OF THE BEST POINT GUARDS IN EUROPE has questionable ball handling skills... suddenly I'm hearing HE ISN'T ATHLETIC ENOUGH TO BLOW BY NBA GUARDS, despite blowing by Kidd constantly in the Olympics.
I get the hate. In my mind, Rubio himself came off as unlikeable (I didn't like his comments about the Timberwolves organization when he signed with FC, especially since Khan worked very hard to acquire Rubio) but Rubio's talent is still unbelievable. His court vision is still top-ten in the world, at the age of 18. This defense is top notch and his passing is uncanny. His change of speed and ball handling and one of the sickest crossovers ever more than makes up for his lack of foot speed and hops.
Hate him for his attitude, don't cheat him on his game.
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