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Roundup: Career Game for Rubio

Roundup: Career Game for Rubio
Jan 15, 2008, 08:15 pm
Player of the Week: Ricky Rubio

DKV Joventut faced Turk Telekom in the ULEB Cup without several players, among them, the team leader Rudy Fernández (likely the best player in that competition, as well as the best player in the ACB League). As he had done in the past, Ricky Rubio stepped up, so well that he delivered career-bests as a pro both in scoring and assists, with 29 points, with just one missed shot from the field, and 10 assists. He had also time to collect 2 rebounds and 3 steals. A dream stat line that didn’t have the proper reward, as the strong Turkish team managed to prevail at home with a 2-point victory.

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A few days later, Granada awaited Joventut in the ACB league. It was a do-or-die game for Granada, as they needed a victory in order to qualify for the very prestigious Copa del Rey. The game entered the last minute tied. That was exactly the moment that Rubio took over, scoring 7 points (including a three-pointer) that secured the victory for his team. His final stats were 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals, another excellent all-around effort by him.

These outstanding outings have granted him our Player of the Week nomination, the second he clinches this season. And it’s likely not the last one.

A Look at…Milos Teodosic

As talented as he might be, it’s never easy for a young player to establish himself as a valuable piece in a very top team in Europe. That’s exactly the case for Milos Teodosic in Olympiacos. However, he’s gaining prominence as the season moves on, and this past week he delivered his best performance in the Euroleague with a 20-point effort against the almighty CSKA Moscow, paving the way for his team to beat the Russian powerhouse, while also providing 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Besides, he twisted his ankle in the second half ended up coming back for the last minutes, showing the heart of a competitor. It was a very interesting game, not only because of the level involved, but particularly because Teodosic exhibited his best virtues and also exposed his most concerning flaws.

Starting with the good, Milos looked extremely confident with his perimeter shot since the tip off. He’s obviously a better shooter than the 28.1% his stat-line shows at this point of the season in the Euroleague-- it’s not always easy to stay confident when the shots don’t go in. Missing the very first one, he soon after buried an NBA-range three-pointer released off-the-dribble in on a fast break. He’s extremely fluid in his mechanics, transmitting a sense of ease with his jumper. He also connected on a very complicated off-the-dribble back-step three. At that point, he was pretty much on fire.

Teodosic played both guard positions, meaning he wasn’t handling the ball as much as probably might have liked. But he stayed nicely active moving without the ball, which provided him with production in the form of a lay-up and a pass off a strong cut. With the ball in his hands, if he doesn’t settle for a long-range shot, he usually utilizes screens, trying to gain advantages, to provoke mismatches, in order to attack the rim or find a good passing angle. He got all the way to the basket a couple of times and showed nice use of his body to gain room in order to finish around the rim. He’s a rather strong guy, obviously a lot bigger than your typical point guard. Milos also had the chance to feed cutters and even through traffic, showing once again his excellent court vision. Given the fact that he didn’t play the point with continuity, we couldn’t really enjoy his control of the game tempo.

Now the bad. Milos badly needs his teammates to operate with the ball. He needs them to set screens for him and work off the dribble, because he clearly struggles to beat his opponent in pure one-on-one settings. He is just not quick enough. It gets worse on defense, where he can’t hold his own against anybody with some quickness to attack him. At least with his size he has less trouble switching defensive assignments, and it’s easier for him to contest shots.

This is nothing we didn’t know in advance already, but it just confirms his game style in a different environment. Anyway, Teodosic looks like a European superstar in the making. At the same time, he’s probably the least NBA-friendly player among the highly-talented international players. It might not even matter, since he reportedly has a massive buyout that comes into affect only in two and a half more years.


State of the Prospect: Who’s Hot

Damjan Rudez is just coming off back-to-back season-high scoring games in the Adriatic League. He knocked down 23 points both against Slovan (plus 6 rebounds and 4 assists) and Helios (plus 2 rebounds and 2 assists). The best part is that his efforts were rewarded with the victory for Split in both games. Besides, it wasn’t a performance based on a good run from the arc, but he was apparently more aggressive than usual. Let’s hope it lasts.

Henk Norel is steadily becoming a key player in Alicante Costa Blanca in the Spanish LEB Oro, actually enjoying a starting spot in the last few weeks. He was essential for them in the last two victories of his squad, going for 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists against Beirasar Rosalia, and 16 points and 8 rebounds against Ciudad de la Laguna Canarias. He has everything to succeed but physical strength, which he’s slowly gaining. Perhaps next year we might see him in the ACB League.

Vladimir Golubovic had a monster game on the glass against Cibona in the Adriatic League, amassing 18 rebounds (season high), while also adding 14 points and 5 steals, which greatly helped Vojvodina to beat the Croatian powerhouse. He’s averaging a very solid 13.6 points and a league-leading 8.2 rebounds in the Balkan competition.

State of the Prospect: Who’s Not

Romain Duport is not living up to the expectations he drew late in the past season. He’s not getting much playing time, averaging only 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds, and has gone scoreless in the last two games he has played. When he is playing he clearly lacks confident on the court and is fading to the perimeter too much, struggling to make his presence felt defensively or on the glass. After disappointing in the EuroCamp in last June, he barely has any chance of hearing his name called in the next draft unless there’s a dramatic change in his situation.

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