Because you are a basketball nerd (in a good way), you have possibly been checking out the stats from Regal FC Barcelona’s Spanish league playoff games. Here’s one representative sample, from Barca’s 74-64 victory over Bizkaia Bilbao: 17.5 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists. Or this one, from a 71-61 win against Caja Laboral: 19 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists. Not exactly what you might hope for from the franchise’s savior right?
Indeed, many folks have been very concerned with Rubio’s regression this past season, a regression built on the backs of many stat lines like the ones above. Well here’s some good news. The European game–with its funny looking lane, and its short three and all the hand checking–is vastly different from the NBA. Its safe to say that it can be tough to tell with the naked eye which Euros will have success in the Assocation.
Well, John Hollinger has come up with a way to project European stats into per 36 minute NBA contexts. The beauty of it is that he examines the performance of previous players who have made the jump from Europe to the NBA and finds that the effect on their statistics is relatively predictable. Are are the approximate conversions:
So are you curious what Rubio’s stats would look like after this conversion? Me too, and luckily vjl110 of Canis has done the legwork. Right now, he finds, Rubio could be penciled in for approximately 6.7 points, five rebounds and eight assists per 36. (Check out the link for a more detailed account of the methodology). Fascinatingly, the 18-year-old Rubio appeared to be good for 10.8 points, five boards and 11.9 assists/36 minutes in an NBA context. While his rotten scoring efficiency and his statistical regression are puzzling and concerning, these are still some pretty encouraging numbers. Wondering about how these numbers stack up against some recent players? Wonder no longer. Says vls:
Each of these three players [Kidd, Rondo and Nate McMillan] would be a really exciting outcome for Rubio, and based on his projected NBA statistics, each of these three players is also well within his reach. Even at 18 years old Rubio was putting up numbers that place him in the same class as the 21 year old Jason Kidd, and the 22 year old Nate McMillan and Rajon Rondo. His assists rebound and steals are consistently as good or better than each of these three players. His scoring volume is right in the same range, but he will need to improve on his efficiency to reach even the low bar set be this trio.
Add to this the fact that, as Biggety2bit pointed out in our very own comment section, Ricky was near the top of the ACB in plus/minus and you get what seems evident to the naked eye when you watch the young fella play: Ricky Rubio is in control of his game; he knows how to help his team; he knows how to play basketball.
None of this is a guarantee of course, just like there is no guarantee that Rubio will ever improve his scoring to an even average level. But these numbers do act as an antidote to the Wolves cynicism that is becoming increasingly incipient within us all. This kid could be ok.