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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.
Kevin Hart is signing on to star with LeBron James in Ballers, the basketball comedy for Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer and Michael Rosenberg are producing.
Hart will first co-write the comedy along with his scripting teammates Joey Wells, Chris Spencer and Harry Ratchford. He’ll then star as a man who lives in the shadow of his NBA superstar brother (James), but gets a chance to prove himself when he and some pals attend a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami. Hart is certainly dominant in the stand-up arena, but posting up against this screen sibling could be dangerous. Hart is under 5’3″ while James is a towering 6’8.” That kind of sibling size differential hasn’t been seen since Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in another Universal comedy, Twins. They’ll sign a director when Hart and his cohorts turn in the script. The plan is to start production next summer when James has time off.
Maybe the Heat will bow out early in the playoffs and give James more time to work on this masterpiece.
Based on their estimated "true talent" (as described last week), remaining schedule and performance to date and with a healthy Rose factored into more than 1,000 simulations of the season, Chicago averaged just over 52 wins, the third-highest total in the Eastern Conference, after the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.
Without Rose, that changes in a hurry. My SCHOENE projection systemestimates that over a full season, the Rose-less Bulls would win approximately 37 games. While the oddsmakers disagree -- Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton told Insider his line for Chicago would be 48.5 wins if Rose did not play all season -- there's reason to believe in such a pessimistic outlook.
At this stage of the season, they settled on 40.8 wins. Ouch.
We spent the better part of the afternoon at the Mall of America at the massive new Verizon store, where Fox sports broadcaster Erin Andrews was on hand to get a tour and generate some publicity for the new "Get Fit" Zone in the store.
In truth, the store is pretty cool, with all sorts of stations set up to help people realize just how powerful their phones can be.
The whole Andrews tour was your typical media event, as she was ushered from station to station. But we were able to catch up with her for a few minutes afterwards for the video you see above. The last question on the video is in reference to this piece that we wrote five years ago.
Andrews is a wisened veteran (35 years old now), and she says that dealing with any critics these days involves thick skin and that Twitter makes it worse. Please have a look-see.
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