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TFD: Ricky Rubio barely cracks ESPN list of top 25 players under 25

Posted by: Michael Rand under Sports, Wolves news Updated: December 13, 2013 - 3:57 PM

For a blunt, honest and pretty much spot-on assessment of Ricky Rubio, we point you in the direction of ESPN's annual ranking of the top 25 NBA players under 25. Kevin Love cracked the top 10 last year, but now he's 25 and doesn't qualify.

Rubio is the young star now at age 23. We looked at the list and kept expecting to see his name. We waited, and waited, and waited ... until we finally got to him at No. 23. But once we looked at the list objectively and saw the players listed above Rubio, it was hard to argue.

Here is the whole list (Insider). And here is what was said about Rubio by the three panelists:

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.

Amin Elhassan (scout) starts with a straight scouting report on each player.

David Thorpe (coach) offers what each player must improve.

Kevin Pelton (analytics) provides a three-year projection using wins above replacement player (WARP). He formulated his projections using his own system, SCHOENE.

Elhassan: He hasn't developed into the Jason Kidd-level point guard we thought he'd be, but he's still just 23 and one of the best passers in the league, with incredible vision and the ability to squeeze passes into the tightest spaces. He's developed into a fairly reliable catch-and-shoot option from beyond the arc, but is atrocious scoring the ball anywhere else, in any other fashion. He's an underrated defender with quick hands and sound footwork.

Thorpe: Rubio is close to breaking through into a higher level of play, if only he'd trim the number of bad turnovers. Those are the ones that are high-risk and low-reward, especially early in possessions when he has so many other options. Limit those along with the long 2s he elects to take and his efficient rockets up.

Rubio might never develop into a good outside shooter, but that's not necessary for him to be valuable. More important is improving his finishing around the basket, his real weakness.

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