Tuesday, September 01, 2009

wise beyond his years

With all the immaturity already in the NBA and the huge money being thrown around at kids barely out of high school, some youngsters are still able to realize that sometimes becoming a multimillionaire superstar as a teenager isn't the best way to transition into adulthood. Enter Ricky Rubio, the point guard phenom in Spain who turned down a lucrative offer from the Timberwolves and all the glitz and glory with it to remain in his homeland for a couple more years.

This strikes me as a win for all sides: former team DKV Joventut gets mega cash out of the deal, new team FC Barcelona brings in a star who's sure to attract lots of fans and attention to the club for the next two years, Minnesota still gets a shot at him in the near future and can still watch him and build a relationship in the meantime, and Rubio gets to spend two years in his home country honing his skills on and off the court. Very wise move by the kid, if you ask me.

What 18-year-old, especially these days, is ready to take off to a foreign country and be showered with millions of dollars and become a focal point of the national sports media? I understand the demand from fans and franchise alike for a quick ROI and all, but I'm still a little surprised the T-wolves tried so hard to make a deal happen. Sure, it might work, but you're relying on that kid keeping his head together despite all that madness and hype that surrounds a draft pick of his stature. And that doesn't even account for the other upheaval he'd be going through or just the typical challenges of becoming an adult. Seems a risky proposition to me; if I were the Wolves I'd have wanted him to spend a year or two in a D-league somewhere anyway, just to make the adjustment slower and prove to the franchise he was ready for the responsibility of being a big-time player. After all, if you've got a high draft pick and a lot of team planning invested into a young player, you want to do everything you can to make sure that player develops well and becomes a boon to your team--even if it takes a few years.

I suspect the player and the team will both be better off for it in the long run. It's a shame more young guys don't show the same kind of patience.


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