“I saw him for the first time and it was like, ‘He is real,’ ” [OKC Coach] Brooks said, smiling. “Like a folk hero.”
Ricky Rubio has arrived. Last night, the 21-year old talent made his long-awaited debut against the OKC Thunder. Rubio came off the bench to record six points, six assists, five rebounds, and most impressive, zero turnovers in a 104-100 loss to the Thunder.
Although I didn’t get a chance to watch the game live, I did take a look at a condensed version of the game this morning and was impressed by the kid’s composure and control on the floor. Watching Rubio with the ball instilled a sense of calm in me. Like a beautiful jazz piece, Rubio’s game has a certain amalgam of individuality and collaboration, combined with a beautiful mixture of improvisation and structure. Most notable was his understanding of speed and tempo in an NBA game, impressively employing a change of pace only the likes of Thelonious Monk could understand.
At the 10:38 mark of the second quarter, Rubio makes a no-look to JJ Barea on a semi-fastbreak while the defense worries about Tolliver down low.
On the next possession, Rubio slows it down even while the defense settles in. An inexperienced player might easily lose focus, try to attempt something he’s not used to doing, and botch the play. Not Rubio.
After using a Love screen, he passes it straight across the lane to Derrick Williams, the one pass no one thought he would make. It results in an easy two points for the rookie.
Rubio’s best pass of the night came early in the fourth quarter when he dished another bounce pass through traffic to Derrick Williams for a reverse dunk.
Rubio, with that rock in his hand on the fast break, reminds me of a Coltrane solo: a player taking his turn as a soloist, and at the same time elevating his quintet. So here’s to the amigo Ricky, he may sound like a little kid, look like a little kid … but he sure doesn’t play like one.
“If you aint Reggie Bush running the rock
You better be good as Kobe slangin’ the jump shot”
WC – ‘Guilty Be Affiliation’