You remember Yi Jianlian, yeah? He was the seven-footer from Guangdong Province in China who was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the sixth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Oh, how nice it was to be drafted so high and be able to play in the best basketball league in the world.
But wait! Yi was upset. His “handlers” were upset. They wanted their boy to play in a “large” market. But the problem was that none of the teams selecting in the first ten picks were in a large market. Well, maybe Chicago, who had acquired the New York Knicks’ ninth pick. Beyond the Bulls, the true “large” market teams would not select until fourteenth (the Los Angeles Clippers), followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at 19 and New York Knicks at 23. Considering the talent and potential of Yi, you knew he would not last that long.
As it was, the Bucks took him and he held out, deciding not to sign. He bitched and moaned, but finally he did sign. And, he rewarded the Bucks with lackluster play. The Bucks then rewarded him by trading Yi to the New Jersey Nets. Hey, now he is in a large market!
So, being in a large market, Yi should be happy and produce. Well…only by “producing” nearly an identical season in East Rutherford as he had in Milwaukee. Same points per game (8.6); one-tenth of a rebound more (5.3); two-tenths of an assist more (1.0); one-tenth of a steal less (0.5); and three-tenths of a block less (0.6). Oh, but he did dramatically improve one stat — games missed (21 in 2008-9; five more than a season before).
What gives a guy who has not proven himself in the Association any right to push to be on a particular team? He still has not proven himself yet. Well, except he is inconsistent, mediocre, and seems to be injury-prone.
Well, apparently these unproven kids are still trying to dictate where they go.
Last night, Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio was drafted number five by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Should be a happy time for an eighteen-year old kid! But, today there was some bitching and moaning about him not being happy going to a “small market.” His dad is meddling as well.
I can get being upset that the T’wolves took another small point guard. It seems unlikely that a Rubio-Jonny Flynn backcourt could really work in the NBA. And a platoon system? Forget it.
But being upset about the size of the city where the franchise is located? C’mon, Ricky! He played in Badalona, Spain — population of over 218,000. He does know that the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA has over 3 million people? That is the 16th largest MSA in the U.S. Or that the city of Minneapolis itself has 377,000 people? Seems to be a step up from Badalona. Sure, it is relatively a small market, but it is not Boise, Idaho either.
First off, who in the hell are you? Have you proven anything? Oh, Rubio has some decent ball skills. Some nice behind the back carrying — ERRRR, I mean dribbling; good passes out of the ass.
People do realize that he averaged 2.4 PPG in the Euroleague, yeah!? That’s just awesome. Hmm, 2.8 assists? And 2.4 turnovers per game!?
He is not that great of a shooter. Does not seem to be able to get through traps or actual defense. He seems to be able to move it on the transition, but that is only a small part of the game. And he is small. He is going to get banged all day and beaten by stronger NBA point guards. I cannot imagine Rubio guarding someone like Baron Davis.
At best, he is a streetballer. It is the And1 Mixtape, the European Version! Remember White Chocolate? That is Ricky Rubio!
He does need time to get better, and he might do that. But he has not done anything to prove that he is worthy of being a lottery pick, nor has he done anything to be able to dictate where he should play. It is no different college football players being “given” huge contracts even though they have not proven themselves.
Neither Rubio nor Yi have done anything to give them any power to dictate where they should be playing. Rubio could have ended up in Oklahoma City. He does realize how cold it gets there. I am sure Sacramento would have been exciting. As it is, he is in Minnesota. Suck it up; play your best and earn you place in the NBA.
Maybe it is a trend among young kids. After all, he was the first player born in 1990 drafted into the NBA. But this sense of entitlement is a bit much. People want to compare Rubio to Pete Maravich and Drazen Petrovic. That is unfair to the late, great players as both of them actually established themselves before entering the NBA. I do not remember seeing Petrovic average less than three points a game, or Pistol Pete complaining about playing in Atlanta.
But hey, who needs to be established when you have “potential,” the most often used term in last night’s draft. And apparently “potential,” translated in Spanish, means “entitlement.” Ricard Rubio Vives has “potential.”
So did Michael Olowokandi.