Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ricky Vision, not a 20/20

We all thought that Ricky Rubio, since his first preseason game, would be the next big thing. We're talking like a young Jason Kidd or the next John Stockton. I mean, let's be honest, the guy has some resemblance.

Even after suffering an injury on his knee, we still saw glimpse of this guy's play making ability. Watching him making a living on floor spacing, dishing out fancy passes to hype up the energy, no look passes here and there, and his bounce passes are sick men. Just the way he sets up his teammates for easy basket is what separates him from most of the guards.

Judging Rubio by his impact on the floor makes him a worthy contender to be inserted for the best point guard in the league talk.

A true and classic point guard which has a pass first mentality with the capability to convert himself into a scorer or a shooter when the need arises is a mark we all have witnessed from great PG's. Rubio has them all, however, there's one big aspect of his game that is a remarkable letdown. Defense. I saw it this season against Chris Paul and recently against Tony Parker on a disappointing road loss at San Antonio. The unwillingness to fight over the screens, the reluctance to get it physical, and above all, his poor decisions in a one-on-one situation which makes him, in my honest opinion, the soft spot of the T'Wolves during clutch times especially on guarding scoring guards.  But he is not a bad defensive player at all. Talk about off-ball defending, reading the passing lanes, or crafty pick-pocketing, this kid's got it.
There were great guards who have come before Ricky who were also paired to great bigs, played great in pick and rolls, shined on an up-tempo game, and were highly praised by not just analysts and fans. John Stockton and Gary Payton for example, the former never won a ring and the latter won one but no longer on his prime but at least they have proven their 'A' game in the strongest era of basketball - 90's. And the aforementioned guard, Jason Kidd, though no longer on a jersey but on a suite, showed how sneaky he STILL is for spilling that soda to get the timeout they need. All these three gentlemen are in the circle of top 10 in assists - all time, and top 5 in steals - all time. And Payton, whose also called "The Gloves", was the only Point Guard in the history of the NBA to ever win an award of Defensive Player of the Year proving even guards can be an anchor in the defensive standpoint.

 We all might remember that one international point guard sensation was playing same direction like Ricky Rubio's. The one that was paired with a powerful 4, surrounded by legit role players, and was the one in charged to lead his team running and gunning. We all know what happened to that Canadian who could score and could allow his teammates to score easily thanks to his play making skills as he now hopes to win his first ring playing alongside an ailing Superstar there at Staples.

That former Phoenix Suns star guard couldn't play defense, too.

One thing's for sure in this point in time; despite the sharpness of those Spanish eyes looking for holes to thread a pass, Ricky Vision has yet to see the importance of a guard who plays defense.