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Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report: Ricky Rubio

ricky-rubio Dribbling6’4″, 180 lbs

10 ppg, 39% fg%, 42.3% 3pfg%, 80.4 ft%, 6.1 apg, 2.2 spg, 3.0 topg

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IGM ANALYSIS

Sorry Fanatics. Call me an MSM mouthpiece if you want, but I’ve done my homework and I can say without hesitation that Ricky Rubio is the truth. No lie.  Certainly, he has been over-hyped, but we can easily cut through the media generated uber- image and see the real thing.   I offer you 44.5 minutes of game tape below to help you understand that this kid is the real deal with skills that will translate to the NBA.  The problem however is that there are many other questions which cannot be answered until he goes up against the best international competition in an 82-game, 30 to 48-minute per game schedule traveling from American coast to American coast for a full season.   I will go on record now and say that it is not the game that will bother him — he can play this NBA on-court  game — — it is all of the peripheral elements of being an NBA baller that may prove to be his greatest obstacle to excellence.

I took great pains to view all the tape very closely before reading the scouts.  After I wrote my piece, I found that I saw it just about the same as they did.   I will not change my view to be different or exclude their views to avoid repetition.  It is what it is.  This kid, Rubio, is good, O&B.

Make no mistake about it.  Rubio has game, but plenty of room for growth.  Let’s strip away the pin-point, laser accurate, showboat passes and the behind the back, hesitation dribble for a moment and pay attention to his basic skill set.  There are two keys for Rubio — his court vision and his timing.  His court vision will not change once he is in the NBA.  Like Magic Johnson and John Stockton this guy sees the entire court.  Sometimes it seems as if he sees it seconds before a play happens, like he is in a time warp. (Remember the character “Hiro” in “Heroes” the television series, who could control time? Rubio’s not quite there yet. LOL).

I can count the number of players on my right foot  who talked about (and proved) that they could see, while in motion themselves, the game develop seconds before it happened.  Chris Paul, Rubio’s basketball model, sees the game like that.  For those players, the game moves extremely slowly and they are able to anticipate action, shift gears and control the game.  Clyde and Magic are among those who knew exactly where the ball needed to be and when; and had the skills to get it there.

The second element, timing, is a little trickier because Rubio is currently playing on Euroleague time.  In the Euroleague, although the competition has improved significantly, the game does not move as fast as the NBA game.  I am not certain how long it would take Rubio (or any other player from the Euroleague) to adapt to the speed and strength of the NBA game.  He is fast.  His ability to fill lanes and anticipate passes on defense is good, although his man-to-man defense seems to suck (welcome to the Knicks or Kings). He is quick with the ball in his hands.  Perhaps, he will be in charge of how his timing is affected since he will have the ball and control the tempo of the game.  He will also need a good coach to help him adjust.  But, if he can make the adjustment to the “speed” of the NBA game, which I bet he can, he will be fine.

There are certainly several concerns.  It is difficult to tell whether he will be more than just a role player.  But he talks about the need to practice and he plays with great intensity.    Does he have the heart to stick with the ups and downs of playing NBA level competition at this point in his development?

Another concern is his strength and conditioning.  Can he physically handle the NBA for 20 to 36 minutes a night?  The way he plays the game, I would guess, not yet.  He drives to the basket a lot and has a nice ability to score on the drive.  Mostly he is a backboard user.  He swoops, hooks and banks his shots out of a defenders reach.  However, I did not see him subjected to a lot of physicality in those tapes.  He was not banged up in those drives.   In the NBA, especially playoff ball, he will absorb a lot of body shots.   Dedicated players will constantly work to improve their strength and conditioning.  It may take a couple of years, but it does for most ballers.

I am only slightly concerned about the fact Rubio seems to travel (I think they call it “steps” at Rucker ) a helluva lot.  But knowing Stern, it won’t be traveling in  the NBA  since the game is traveling abroad. The NBA will just change the rules again to meet the playing style of his stars.

Rubio’s shooting is only fair for now, but the critical thing is that he can hit from any spot on the floor and he can do it on the move.  His form is fine; he needs to continue practicing. He seems to shoot jumpers with both feet on the ground (that’s a “set shot” at The 4th Street Cage). He barely elevates for his tres.    Now that’s odd for a pro baller.   With his uncommon ability to see the open man and to anticipate defensive moves, he will create a lot of open looks for himself.  Once he hits those with regularity, forget about it, defenses are toast.

Rubio’s defense looks deceptively good in highlights because he gets quite a few steals by anticipating passes in the lane and timing opponent’s dribble.  I especially like the over the back “axe steal” which should be a foul, but he executes it to perfection.  (That’s what I mean about timing).  However, that also means he is a gambler and will leave his teammates exposed and his team defense broken with that type of risky defense.  He also does not seem to put a lot of pressure on the ball.  I’m sure the video below of all the American buckets against Spain in the Beijing Olympics is not fair for judging defense, but it is one of the few videos that isn’t a valentine for Rubio.  In that video, he seemed lax on D and not very strong.  But in all other videos, he seems to hustle quite a bit.

There seems to be an issue about Rubio’s contract, which he has discussed vaguely on TwitterReportedly, Rubio must pay $6.5 million to buy out his current contract with DKV Joventut. According to Rubio’s dad, Esteban, the termination clause in the contract does not reflect Rubio’s actual salary.  He would be paying them more than he actually earns to get out of his contract.  The owner of DKV is attempting to convince Rubio to stay until 2010 at which time he claims he would cut the buyout in half.  He believes the buyout is not unfair and that Rubio may have been young when he signed it, but he had adult advisers.  He says that Rubio benefited greatly from playing for his team and the contract is what it is.

Some fans are upset that Rubio has made it clear that he is not interested in playing for the Grizzlies, who have the 2d pick in the draft.  Fans seem to hate when teams publicly try to muscle other teams into not selecting them (a la Peyton Manning).  They believe the reason is that he would prefer to play for New York, while others say that the real reason is the bad experiences Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro, fellow Spainards, had in Memphis.  The word is out that Memphis is not for Spainard pros for whatever reason.  Rubio did visit Sacramento, but became too ill to show his wares.  At the time of this writing, there are no reports regarding whether Rubio will work out or visit other teams such as OKC.  But, the truth is that he really doesn’t need to workout.  He knows that he will be going in the top 8 and probably the top 4.

Yes, Rubio is hyped, but this guy is not hype.   Put him with some good players and he will do fairly well.  Will he be a star?  I don’t know about that, but I would think of him as one of the top three guards in this draft.  Don’t be mad if the Knicks pick him.  Be pissed if they don’t develop him properly.

(Don’t forget to make your draft choices in our draft selection post “With The Eighth Pick, The New York Knicks Select. . . )

OUTSIDE PRE-DRAFT REPORTS

NBADRAFT.NET

NBA Comparison: Jose Calderon/Steve Nash

Strengths: One of the purest point guards to come around in a while … His vision and ability to deliver precise passes make him the ultimate distributor … Has good size for the position, allowing him to survey the court over top of defenses … A great and natural feel for the game allows him to see plays before they materialize, keeping him one step ahead of the opposition … He is extremely good at maintaining his composure when operating in the pick and roll, he does not panic when the defense converges, but rather shows patience and waits to make his reads … Loves to split the hedge on a high ball screen to get into the paint … Has a wide repertoire of moves off the dribble … Knows how to incorporate head, pass and shot fakes to get defenders off balance and to keep them guessing … Uses change of speed and direction extremely well, always mixing up the moves and staying unpredictable … His shot has come a long way in the last year or so, even to the point where he has become a serious threat from the outside … Defesively, he plays with a lot of energy and puts in a great effort to put pressure on the opposing ball handlers … Quick hands and terrific anticipation allow him to get his hands on a lot of balls … His game is mature beyond his years due to the fact that he has played on the top senior level for a long time … He has been on the draft radar for some years and has been able to maintain a fairly high level of play … Has shown that he can perform on a big stage by being a key member of the Spanish National team in the Olympics …

Weaknesses: Has good speed but lacks the great explosiveness that top tier point guards in the league possesses … He is forced to shoot high amount of attempts in the paint because his marginal leaping ability makes it difficult for him to finish around the basket … Heavily depends on the pick and roll to create his opportunities and does not show a great ability to break down defenders in ISO situations … Has gotten better at taking what’s open, but his pass first mentality still gets him into trouble as he passes up open shots … His jumper is still not a finished product by any means … Because it takes him a bit to get his feet set, and his release point is fairly low he still looks like a set shooter … Has battled some injuries over the last year, which raises the question of durability and whether he will be able to handle the rigors of an 82 game season … His game has been up and down this season after coming back from his injury (Had a better overall season last year) … His performance on the international scene does not guarantee his game will translate well to the NBA … Is also a bit of a risk because of his high buyout and because he has hinted at staying overseas if he doesn’t go to the right team …

Borko Popic – 6/15/2009

Strengths: The problem with Ricky Rubio is: Where to start? He has more skill than anyone in his worldwide age group. Including but not limited to: Defense, anticipation, intelligence, ball handling, PG (vision) creation, rhythm, coordination, ambition, scoring and personality He is practically ambidextrous, has good foot speed (not great) and excellent body control With excellent use of speed/ direction changes he excels both on the open court and the half court game as a set up or assist man Catch and shoot is quick and clean A smart rebounder, he gets optimum position under both boards Voted the best Euro young player for 2007, he has only acceptable shooting %s both from 2 and 3 points. His shooting delivery is consistent with no waste of time or extra movement. Ive thought about it a lot and think the best comparison to past-present NBA players would be the best of both Walt Clyde Frazier and Steve Nash At 17 years old he is already a feared and well respected ACB and Euro-level competitor. He is a warrior and plays all out, all the time. On top of that knows how to flop (with this kid its an art form) Hes also a master at getting to the FT line, where he knocs down a high rate (80%) Adventurous in his passing, he has two skills; Seeing and when necessary, creation of passing lanes. Excellent. Statistically he is a gem and he has personality. He leads. He knows how to win He will become a household name in many more households.

Weaknesses: His outside shooting needs to continue to improve Maturity will bring the necessary leg strength and stability to shoot with better consistency His ratio of Assists/ Turnovers needs improvement, time and experience being the only necessary elements required. Related to this: His youthful inexperience sometimes gets him caught out of control when competing with physically stronger men at the highest Euro level He is thin but will fill out as his frame is good.

Timo Lawrence – 4/29/2008

Weaknesses: Rubio will have trouble guarding point guards in the NBA. His lateral quickness is decent but not great. Against top competition, he does have some mental lapses at times. He often backs off his defender and uses his instincts to play position defense, but in the rare moments when he guesses wrong, he can get beat on simple plays like a back-door cut, or his defender will easily dribble right by him. Some of his height and vision advantage is lost when longer players guard him. He doesnt jump at all on his jump shot and could stand to change his shooting mechanics a little. This will be a problem when playing against elite athletes.

He is a big star at a young age, and already shows signs of having a big ego. He often creates contact and then expects LeBron James-type calls from the referees, and can get frustrated when he doesnt receive them. He has his own warm-up routine, and is often seen off on his own and not with the team, (although there are no reports of him not being a team player). The type of fame and success that hes had at such a young means it will be that much more important for him to continue to working on his game, improve his skills and not settle for just being as talented as he is now.

Joshua Motenko – 8/20/2007

DRAFT EXPRESS.COM

Situational Statistics: This Year’s Point Guard Crop

May 8, 2009
Ricky Rubio doesn’t have overwhelming stats, but he’s the youngest prospect on our list playing against by far the strongest competition, and thus isn’t as weak in some areas as people may imagine.

Considering his frail frame, lack of awesome leaping ability, and level of competition, it would be fairly reasonable to expect Rubio to struggle around the basket. Even though European prospects (and veterans for that matter) tend to have a lower PPP than their NCAA and NBA counterparts, Rubio actually falls right around the average of this group as a finisher at 1.11 PPP. His ability to transition that part of his game to the NBA is going to be very important when you consider that he takes under 2.5 jump shots per game, has made only 5 of his 25 logged pull up jumpers, and is still gaining confidence in his improved catch and shoot ability (1.1 Pos/G, 41%, 9/22).

Always better known for his creativity and playmaking ability, it doesn’t come as a shock that Rubio looks good in transition. He is shooting 69% on his transition opportunities on just 13 attempts this season –which is a bit misleading since he doesn’t take many attempts more because he knows when to give the ball up than because he isn’t pushing the tempo. In contrast, his limited isolation possessions are indicative of some issues, as he’s not going to produce a ton in pure one-on-one situations. Fortunately, Rubio, like most European point guard’s we’ve evaluated, is effective on the pick and roll. With 27% of his touches coming from the two-man game, Rubio could have a mutually beneficial relationship with the post players he is teamed with in the NBA, since they’ll likely make his life just as easy as he’ll make theirs.

Obviously our sample size is a bit limited for two reasons: Rubio simply doesn’t use that many possessions as a scorer (9 Pos/G), and he missed a good portion of the season with a wrist injury. We were on hand for one of his first games back in December, and while he’s shaken off some of the rust as the season has continued, his wrist is still limiting his production, but not to the extent that it was initially. Evidence for that can be found in the observation that Rubio drives left nearly 74% of the time he looked to go to the rim, the most of any player on this list by over 5%. His injury is also partially accountable for the fact that he turned the ball over on 28.5% (1st) of his halfcourt possessions. The team that drafts will need to make sure that they get him back on the right track as a shooter and help open up the floor to get him back in the swing of things to make up for all the time he lost this season.
[Read Full Article]

RUBIO’S VIDEO LIBRARY

Child Prodigy Rubio at 14

Ricky Rubio Mix

Born To Be Wild

2008-2009 Euroleague

Rubio On Defense Against USA Sorta Kinda
Spain’s Offense Against US in Beijing Olympics

Kobe on Ricky Rubio

Toby Bailey On Rick Rubio

Brandon Jennings Talking Smack

Brandon Jennings On Rocky Rubio. (Psyyyych or “Just Kidding,” Jennings says later.)  Click here to see video.

Ricky Rubio On Ricky Rubio (Pre-Draft Interview)

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Related Previous Posts:

And With The Eighth Pick, The New York Knicks Select. . .

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jrue Holiday

Is Brandon Jennings Playing Media (and Us) With Rubio Diss?

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Eric Maynor

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Brandon Jennings

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Demar Derozan

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Series Stephen Curry

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Tywon Lawson

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jonny Flynn

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June 21, 2009 - Posted by | Brandon Jennings, New York Knicks, Rick Rubio | , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. […] Sorry Fanatics. Call me an MSM mouthpiece if you want, but I’ve done my homework and I can say without hesitation that Ricky Rubio is the truth. No lie.  Certainly, he has been over-hyped, but we can easily cut through the media generated uber- image and see the real thing.   I offer you 44.5 minutes of game tape below to help you understand that this kid is the real deal with skills that will translate to the NBA.  The problem however is that there are many other questions which cannot be answered until he goes up against the best international competition in an 82-game, 30 to 48-minute per game schedule traveling from American coast to American coast for a full season.   I wRead more at https://knicksfanatics.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/fanatics-pre-draft-scouting-report-ricky-rubio/ […]

    Pingback by ricky energy….Cancel those moving trucks –…. More Draft Buzz – Washington…. | Latest Information | June 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. Lives:
    Nice collage of Rubio video, even if seemed redundant at times. Given that he is only 18, his upside is just as much the “truth” as his current court vision. Memphis will have to decide if it will take Rubio knowing that he has the option to stay in Europe rather than play in a city where he feels no chemistry. If Memphis does take Rubio with the 2nd pick, then you can rest assured the Grizzlies have worked out a trade with a team that offers better value than simply keeping the pick and choosing someone other than “La Pistola.”

    Comment by Post-up Prince | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Everyone Loves Mock Drafts Except the Experts Who Compile Them

    By HOWARD BECK
    Published: June 21, 2009

    The phone is pressed to Jonathan Givony’s ear for at least six hours a day. The team executives are gabbing, the agents are gossiping and just about everyone is spinning. His passport is ink-stained, stamped in Moscow and Madrid, Treviso and Berlin.

    For 12 months, Givony — the president of DraftExpress.com — has been traveling, scouting, reporting and scurrying for information on every player who may be taken in the 2009 N.B.A. draft. What results is an exhaustively researched, finely tuned mock draft. That and a feeling of profound ambivalence.

    “It’s almost pointless to do a mock draft,” Givony said, grumbling.

    For the self-made draft experts, twisted emotions are implicit this time of year.

    The draft is Thursday. Fans are devouring mock drafts and player biographies and learning hard-to-pronounce European names. They are refreshing Web pages every few hours to read the latest insights from people like Givony, NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith and ESPN’s Chad Ford.

    It should be a glorious time. It isn’t.

    “I hate mock drafts,” Ford said. “I just think they’re a joke.”

    To be close to the process is, apparently, to loathe it. The draft is a signature event for the N.B.A., a hype-filled evening of optimism and suspense. It is the night when teams’ intentions are revealed and fates are set.

    The days that precede it, however, are filled with lies and obfuscation, misdirection and outright manipulation. Agents inflate their players’ value and trash the clients of their rivals. Team executives, fearful that another team will snatch their favorite prospect, spread false reports about a player’s workout, or his health, or his character.

    Ford, Givony and Smith devote themselves almost solely to the draft. Their mock drafts are among the best known and the most scrutinized. So they are subjected to a vast amount of lobbying, and enough baloney to stock the refrigerated aisle at Costco.

    Draft prognostication is fickle by nature, and this year’s draft is more fickle than most. The Los Angeles Clippers, who own the No. 1 pick, have declared that they will take Blake Griffin, the Oklahoma forward. After that, the board is a mess.

    Most executives consider it a weak draft, filled with role players but devoid of potential stars. Front offices are torn. Several lottery teams are trying to trade their picks, so predicting who will go where is nearly impossible.

    “Right now 80 to 90 percent of the teams don’t know who they’re going to pick,” Givony said. “So for people to think that we can 100 percent say what’s going to happen, I think it’s kind of ridiculous.”

    The mock-drafters generally grade themselves by the accuracy of their insights, not the accuracy rate of the picks. The most critical thing is to peg a prospect’s range, to separate the lottery picks from the late first-rounders and to identify each team’s preferences. None of them want to be shocked when Commissioner David Stern steps to the lectern.

    The experts know they will always get more picks wrong than right. But they beam when the picks fall into place.

    Givony boasted that he correctly predicted the first eight picks in 2008. Smith said that his site had 16 first-round picks right in 2003. Ford said he aimed to have 15 to 20 picks right in the first round — a goal that may be out of reach this year.

    “We’re really good in the top 10, and kind of O.K. from 10 to 20, and by then it falls apart,” said Ford, who started doing mock drafts in 1996 for his own site, Sportstalk.com. The site was later purchased by ESPN.

    Ford, the unofficial dean of N.B.A. mock-drafters, said he worked 14 to 16 hours a day at this time of year. He described his job as “trying to keep track of 100 players, 30 general managers and 20 agents who are furious at me.”

    When they first went online, NBADraft.net (in 2000) and DraftExpress (2004) focused almost entirely on mock drafts. They have since expanded into independent scouting operations, with modest staffs of self-trained experts. Like Ford, Givony and Smith and their staffs spend time at the Reebok EuroCamp, the Portsmouth Invitational and the Chicago predraft camp, as well as college and international games.

    The DraftExpress mock draft is now a byproduct. Givony said he was much prouder of his database, which contains years of scouting reports and statistics. Seven overseas teams hired DraftExpress this year to evaluate American players, he said.

    “That stuff to me is more important,” Givony said. “But I realize the mock draft is what a lot of people come to the site for.”

    And the mock draft is what creates the most stir. Although team executives make their own decisions, they scan the mock drafts to get a feel for what their rivals may be doing. Agents do the same and occasionally berate the experts if they feel a client has been slighted.

    “I’ve gotten that over the years,” Smith said. “There are agents I just stay away from, and I don’t allow them to have an influence over what I do.”

    Mock drafts abound on the Internet. Some are purely opinion-based, others a mix of opinion and reporting. Some are merely amalgams of other mock drafts. Few people spend as much time year-round on the draft as Ford, Givony and Smith do.

    A longtime Western Conference executive said he regarded Ford as the best of the group. He also praised Smith and Givony for their exhaustive work. The executive did not want to be named because he has working relationships with all three men.

    He also acknowledged the obvious: that general managers rarely tell reporters and draft prognosticators the truth about whom they want to draft.

    “Because they don’t want their guy in that slot,” he said. “If anything, I want to get my competition believing that I’m going to go someplace different.”

    Indeed, the executive said that he had given false information about his intentions to a rival general manager, just to see if that person would repeat it to a reporter. (He did.)

    “Most G.M.’s are going to use mock drafts for the purpose of misdirection,” he said. “The only problem there is that if you have a relationship with one of these individuals and after draft day you make them look stupid, they’re not going to forget that.”

    When it comes to mock drafts, sometimes it’s best to heed the first word.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. Rubio Agrees To Buyout Amount

    Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday morning that Ricky Rubio, a projected high pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, is on the precipice of finalizing a buy-out agreement with his Spanish club, DKV Joventut. No word on how much of the $6.6 million owed to Joventut will be cut from the deal, but Amick said the resulting amount will be something feasible for Rubio, who should be a top five pick.

    Further news on the Rubio beat: he met with Thunder officials in L.A. this weekend, and he will reportedly re-visit Sacramento today, where he is expected to engage in a work-out.

    Comment by igmknicks | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  5. Post Up Prince thanks for the props on the video collection. Lives did help a little bit.

    Yes they are a bit repetitive, but so is Rubio’s penchant for making the spectacular, showy pass look routine.

    Comment by igmknicks | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  6. >Donnie Walsh Transcript
    compiled by Ricky Henne, NYKnicks.com

    Posted Jun 22 2009 3:oo p.m.

    Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh addressed the media on Monday, just three days before the 2009 NBA Draft. Below is a transcript of what Walsh had to say regarding the draft, the Knicks and the NBA in general.

    Question: Why would you have (Jrue) Holiday in twice?

    Donnie Walsh: I just wanted to take a final look at him, because I’ve seen him but I wanted to make sure everybody saw him, scouts and coaches.

    Question: How much of a fear is it, I mean obviously there have been a lot of guys who have gone from being freshman to being good NBA players, but is that something also for guys like him that are in that same boat?

    Walsh: Yeah, but there’s a lot of them. So is it a fear? No, not if you think that he can project into being a good NBA player. So in the case of most of the guys that are in this draft, that’s what is being done. But it is a jump of faith to try to predict a guy into a certain level, because you are going on what is his potential and if you feel good that he is going to reach it.

    Question: Is there something you didn’t see from Holiday the first time that you wanted to?

    Walsh: No. I saw him play in the regular season so I have a good feel for him. But going into the draft, you start watching the way the draft can go and you want to make sure. So there wasn’t anything earth shattering, it was like, well, why not let him come in again. And his agent said fine. Most of these kids are going to go to the NBA Draft, so they are on their way anyway.

    Question: Are you aware of the smokescreens that are out there now, and the teams ahead of you? I mean, Washington is talking about seven players…

    Walsh: Yeah I know.

    Question: So do you see games being played, especially because there is a lot of parity in this draft?

    Walsh: Yeah, I think that’s true. The only player right now is (Blake) Griffin. You know where he’s going and after that, all the way down past us, you have no idea who is taking who. And I think its to a degree because there is parity. There’s also at this point most teams got a guy that they want to take, and they don’t want anyone else to kind of figure it out. And we have a few teams that are traditionally like that at the top of the draft, and have been for a while.

    Question: So do you have to have a plan A, B, C, D…

    Walsh: Yes, of course. That’s what we’ll do.

    Question: Is that what looking at Holiday a second time is?

    Walsh: That’s part of it, but I think we also have until Thursday night and we need to spend it exactly on that to be sure that if this, this and this happens, where are we?

    Question: When he talks about smokescreens, is that what people talking about (Hasheem) Thabeet and (Ricky) Rubio falling out of the top four is? Or are you pretty confident that they won’t be around when you pick eighth?

    Walsh: No, I’m not.

    Question: So you are confident or you aren’t that they will be available?

    Walsh: I’m not confident that they will be in the top four.

    Question: So they could slide down your way?

    Walsh: Yea, they could. I mean, it’s possible. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but you are hearing all this stuff and reading all this stuff. It could happen.

    Question: Is this the most in flux a draft has been that you can recall?

    Walsh: Not really. I mean, I think they are all like this. People are afraid of teams jumping ahead of them. They figure out, ‘Oh, ok if I want this guy he’s going to stop at four, then I have to get three” and then a trade at the last minute (could happen).

    Question: Do you understand why Rubio might slip? Is it because of his situation with the buyout, he hasn’t worked out for anyone…

    Walsh: I think it’s effected (Brandon) Jennings as well. They are not here, you don’t hear a lot about them, in Rubio’s case he didn’t work out, so you either really have to want him, because he is not in the news so to speak as much as the other players. And I think Jennings was that way too. That’s why he’s working out a lot. I’m sure he’s impressing some teams.

    Question: Did you ask or want Rubio to come in?

    Walsh: Probably back, but not now. We are down to it, and we know he’s a good player.

    Question: But earlier in the process…

    Walsh: Well when we started, I probably wanted to get him in.

    Question: So you won’t meet with him?

    Walsh: I don’t need to.

    Question: Is he still number one on top of the board in terms of point guards?

    Walsh: I don’t know. You have to ask the guy whose got two. (laughs)

    Question: So on draft night you will have a scenario of someone trying to get up to number two…

    Walsh: Yeah, those things happen in the draft. I’m not saying you don’t talk about them now. It’s also in the draft, you might get a call five minutes before you pick or five minutes before they pick.

    Question: Do you think there will be any less of that because of the parity?

    Walsh: I think there’ll be more than that.

    Question: Given the depth of the draft at point guard, do you think it’s likely that’s where you end up?

    Walsh: No, I don’t. The players that are at our pick, and the player we think is best for us, that’s who we’ll pick. We haven’t picked out a position that we need to get in this particular draft.

    Question:Are you thinking that (Stephen) Curry and Tyreke (Evans) just might not be there at eight?

    Walsh: I think that there are a lot of guys that might not be there so I have to be ready for who is there and what we’re looking for. There are good players.

    Question: The player that you draft, could he impact the free agents, particularly the top free agents that you have?

    Walsh: It depends who it is to be honest. There are some guys that are ready to play right now, and there are some that are very young and need time. The draft isn’t something you can grade the next day. You have to wait to see how you do. There is LeBron James and Michael Jordan, but in most cases, players need time.

    Question: Last year, it was the first time working with Mike (D’Antoni). His system isn’t traditional. Do you look at that when you are picking?

    Walsh: Yeah, I think you always do that. You always have a coach who has a style, so you try to pick for that style, but not 100-percent. If the guy is good enough, you figure he’ll fit in to his style.

    Question: Do you want another number one pick because you don’t have one next year?

    Walsh: I’d love to have one but people aren’t running around offering.

    Question: Are you shopping for one, or even a two?

    Walsh: Yeah I mean you always ask, but people are very reluctant to do that because they don’t know how they are going to be next year.

    Question: There is talk with the way economy is, teams might be selling off picks. Have you seen any of that?

    Walsh: No. I haven’t seen anything like that. We kind of talked to some people we thought would, and they haven’t yet.

    Question: How far down in the draft would you go if you got a pick for next year to make it worthwhile?

    Walsh: This year, I think you will be able to pick players 20-30, who while they haven’t got the cache of some of the players that are picked before that, so I think once we get the draft down and we are pretty close to it, you might be able to get a really good player at 20-30 if you get the right pick.

    Question: Is there a market for your players? I mean a good market?

    Walsh: I’m not sure. Because I probably value them more than other people.

    Question: You’ve been asked about your players I presume.

    Walsh: Yeah, there are some who do and some who don’t.

    Question: When you talk about what you need and talk about point guards, it seems you like a scoring point guard?

    Walsh: That’s not true.

    Question: So what do you feel like you need from that position right now.

    Walsh: I think a guy that can play a fast tempo. And I’d like a guy who can defend too, so those things. But someone who can play a fast tempo, because that’s what we want to play.

    Question: Some say after that the players after one, they all seem kind of the same. Is this not a mediocre draft? Are you saying it is a decent draft?

    Walsh: Well I think there are good players in the draft, so in that regard, there will be good players where we are so in that sense it is a good draft. You know, you have to wait two or three years to find out how really good it was. There are some years you go in thinking it’s not a really good draft, and you wake up two years later and these guys are starting, one through 20, and you think ‘Wow, that was a good draft.’

    Question: When you evaluated Curry and he talked so much about wanting to be here, how much of a factor is that to you? Just the fact that he’s talking about it, what do you think of it?

    Walsh: Well I’ve heard that from a lot of players, and so I like that. I like it better than someone who says he doesn’t want to be here. (laughs)

    Question: How different is it this year in New York compared to your first year in the draft?

    Walsh: It’s the same. I mean, I’ve told you guys I think you’ve got to get good players when you have this kind of opportunity. So that’s what I think. We have to pick the right guy.

    Question: Have you seen Rubio play in person?

    Walsh: No. I saw him on TV and all that, and I’ve watched a lot of film on him. A lot.

    Question: But your people have.

    Walsh: Yeah, I’ve got a European scout who is from people. We have people.

    Question: How much do you blame the player or the agent when he decides he doesn’t want to work out?

    Walsh: I don’t blame the player. Usually it’s the agents strategy and it either works or it doesn’t.

    Question: What’s the strategy?

    Walsh: The strategy is to get him picked by the teams the guy wants him to get picked by.

    Question: Do you think New York is one of those teams that people wouldn’t mind…

    Walsh: Well because we are at eight, not at the beginning but maybe at the end. Who knows? I’m not part of that strategy.

    Question: What is your opinion about the one-and-done rule? Would you like to see high school kids be able to come out?

    Walsh: I’m probably at the other end of the stick. I thought we had a great farm system. And it was free. But it is what it is now. The NCAA.

    Question: Do you think there would be less scandals…

    Walsh: Well I’m not going to comment on that because I am not in that world anymore. I just think that when guys went to college for four years, when they came out, they were ready to go to the pros. They receive great coaching, they receive a college degree. So when they come into this world they were ready. We as teams now, we have to make up for that when they get here. We’re doing the best we can. We’re fasting getting to a point where we can do it well, but it wasn’t traditionally so what an NBA team did when it started.

    Question: Being that you want to compete sooner than later, are you more apt to go with a player who can contribute right now than a player who might be a project and might take a year?

    Walsh: It depends who it is. It really depends on how good I think he can be eventually. And that can be an older guy or a younger guy. You have to look at that.

    Question: There are a few small point guards in this league. How important is height as a fact for point guards?

    Walsh: Well I would like them to be bigger than smaller, but there are obviously some smaller point guards who are making an impact on the league. I think a lot of that has to do with the rules on the perimeter, so they are not counted out just because they are smaller anymore.

    Question: Do you think it’s easier for them to get along in today’s NBA than it used to be?

    Walsh: Yeah, I do. I think the floor has opened up a lot. It’s very hard to guard some of the quickness that’s coming into the league particularly with smaller guards, without putting your hand on them and that’s a foul now. Back when I started they could pick you up with one hand and that wasn’t a foul. (laughs) But yeah, I think its better.

    Question: Is this your last lottery pick in New York?

    Walsh: I hope. Well I’ll say this, whether I was in New York or Indiana, I hope this is my last lottery pick. I never like being in the lottery.

    Question: As the Celtics and the Lakers have proven the last couple of years, if you take on salary, there are big time players available if you want to make a trade. Do you think that will happen again this year given how many teams are trying to cut costs?

    Walsh: Yeah, I think the guys you think can make a difference to take you from a losing team to a winning team, people will make the investment. But if its close, they might night.

    Question: Do you think there are teams that are willing to take on salary anymore?

    Walsh: Yeah, I do. I mean, I think there will be, if they see its going to push them up into a winning team. Because if you have a winning team, then you fill the stands and you make a lot more money. And I think that’s the way those teams think. And they want a chance to win the playoffs.

    Question: Do you have a better feeling about the David Lee situation today than you did when the season ended?

    Walsh: Absolutely not, because I’m not allowed to talk to him or his agent. I mean, I can say hello and that kind of stuff, but no I don’t. I won’t know that until July 1.

    Question: How is (Danilo) Gallinari’s recovery?

    Walsh: Good, from what I’m told. He went to a photo shoot for the league I think, so I haven’t seen him in about a week. But all the reports I’m getting back is that the operation was a success, and whatever remains to be done is more rehab, and then I have to talk to him to know exactly, but it doesn’t seem to be a big obstacle for him. The doctor is at the point where she’ll let him go play now. But I haven’t talked to her. But he’s close.

    Question: Can any pick you make be influenced by what you might possibly want to do later in the summer in free agency or trades or whatever?

    Walsh: Well, you are always influenced by what you need and what you might do. So yes, those things could come into it. I’m at a stage now though where I’m trying to see who is the best player for the team, and I’m assuming if you do that, then those things will be there.

    Question: Any sense of what the chances are you are going to stay at eight at this point?

    Walsh: No, I mean, how many trades get done in the draft? Whatever that percentage is, that’s what it is. Everyone wants to move up all the time.

    Question: How confident are you after this offseason ends that you can make the playoffs?

    Walsh: Well look, that’s what we want to do. Confident? Well I won’t be confident until we do it. I mean, we’ve got to go out and do it. You can go out and talk about it all you want, but the idea is to try to get to that. And I talked on my first day here, that the most difficult thing will be last year and this year because you’ve got to be very careful with what you’re doing if you have a strategy, like trying to stay under the cap?

    Question: How’s Eddy Curry?

    Walsh: He’s doing well, from everything I’ve heard. I did see him one day on the day of the Chicago thing, I went up to Detroit and watched him work out. And he’s working very hard, he’s losing weight, and he’s starting to get his body to look like an athlete’s body again. I have to give him credit for working as hard as he can work to try to do it.

    Question: When you watch the Finals and you see how the playoffs shook out, bigs are valuable. You have one that a couple of years ago was in the conversation to be an all-star…

    Walsh: Yeah, and bigs are valuable in the playoffs. That’s when they are at their best and you really need them, because they can distort the game. And he’s a low post player. Now, at the four and sometimes at the five, you get guys who are standing outside shooting. But when you get to the playoffs, that isn’t as dramatic as having a guy they have to double-team and have to worry about all the time. So you always want that.

    Question:What about Jonny Flynn?

    Walsh: He’s a guy, who even in college, if you catch him on the right day, even in these workouts, this guy, if teams want a certain type of point guard, then you go for him.

    Question: What about Sacramento and all the talk about them and what they might do?

    Walsh: Well they are the eye of the storm right now. Everyone is trying to figure out what they are going to do, and it will be different tomorrow.

    Question: Hypothetically, if Rubio is sitting there are eight, is it a slam dunk that you would take him?

    Walsh: It depends who he is with. I can’t predict who he will be with. But I think there are other players who are on his level. He has experience, a great game, flair – but like most players in the draft he’s got some things he does better than most NBA players and he some things that he doesn’t do. And I can’t think of anybody in this draft that doesn’t fit into that category. That’s where he is. He’s like 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5. That’s a big guard.

    Question: Is that what you like most about Holiday, that he is a two-way player?

    Walsh: Yeah. I mean, he’s a good player. And he is good defensively, yeah.

    Question: Of the guards, is Evans the most explosive going to the basket?

    Walsh: Well, he is one of them because he is powerful and he has a great handle. If he gets kind of an opening, he is very strong so he gets there. There are a couple who get there one quickness, he gets there because of that. And he can pass too. If you help off on him, which you are probably going to have to do, he will get the open guy.

    Question: Is he a combo guy? Is he more of a two in your mind?

    Walsh: No. I think he can play both, but he will be a point guard eventually in the NBA. You can post him. I think he weighs 215.

    Question: Does he have to work on his shot a little bit?

    Walsh: Yeah, but I didn’t see – all these guys that I heard couldn’t shoot, that would be the quote, I didn’t think they were that far away. So I think all these guys they are saying that about, they will get better in the NBA because most players once the concentrate on being a pro and are shooting all the time, they get better. And their form, these guys forms at this point, they are not bad. I mean, he shot it well when he was here. He was hitting threes. He shot it very well.

    Question: Are there questions about Stephen Curry defensively?

    Walsh: Well, I think you have to have a system for all these players, and to me, a guy like Curry is smart enough to figure it out and learn how to play in the NBA defensively.

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