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Latest On Thabeet And Rubio

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm •  Published: June 1, 2009

The Sporting News has a Q&A with UConn center Hasheem Thabeet. The 7-foot-3 center talks about adjusting to the NBA’s 3-second rule, his transition from soccer to basketball and, perhaps most importantly, how he’s trying to expand his offensive game.

“I’ve been working on my offense. That is all I do,” Thabeet said. “A lot of times nowadays when I go to work out I don’t work on my defense at all. I go and I shoot jump shots and things like that…It’s getting better. The thing people don’t understand, I had to make a transition from soccer to basketball…That takes time to get used to. I am just trying to get as many repetitions as I can to get better.

“I think that, maybe my offense needs to improve, but I think that if I am not going to go to your end and score, then you are not going to come to my end and score. That helps me a lot more playing defense, to be motivated.”

Not sure if Thabeet working on his offensive game so faithfully is a good or bad thing.

Is it coming at the expense of his continued defensive development? Is he better off focusing on becoming great at that which he’s already good? Is his game even capable of developing any more to include an offensive aspect?

All valid questions. Whichever team picks him in the lottery is selecting him for his defensive abilities, not his current offensive game and more than likely not even with the goal of turning him into an offensive threat.

Meanwhile, the Ricky Rubio song and dance continues. Rubio tells a Spanish newspaper that staying overseas remains an option if the team that selects him doesn’t have a good future ahead of it. (Via TrueHoop and my handy Microsoft Office translator.)

“It is necessary to see which is the best option for me,” Rubio said. “Memphis has the (second selection), but that does not mean nothing…The number is important because it means that you have better status, but also it must value if the (team) that chooses you has a good (future) and the players who are there.”

This is the first time we’ve heard Rubio speak directly to not wanting to walk into a particular situation. Rubio’s camp reportedly did not want him to land in Memphis or Oklahoma City.

My question is what is a good situation when you’re selected in the lottery?  These teams are in the lottery because they didn’t have good seasons and all have their respectful blemishes.

The Clippers, owners of the first pick, play in Los Angeles, the second largest market which brings several perks off the court. But as columnist Berry Tramel pointed out Sunday, the Clippers have had only two winning seasons since 1978-79, a roster currently dotted with “knuckleheads” and an owner with a history of racial discrimination and sexual harassment troubles.

The Grizzlies ranked second to last in the league in attendance this year with an announced 12,745 fans. I’ve been there and know first hand that 12,000 didn’t walk through those gates on a nightly basis. And Memphis, despite its currently solid core, hasn’t won more than 24 games in any of the past three seasons and has only three winning seasons in its 14-year existence.

The Thunder has perhaps the best young core of any of the top five teams. But the team also already has a point guard in Russell Westbrook and plays in one of the league’s smallest markets.

Sacramento is a proven NBA hotbed but has fallen on tough times of late, averaging a league-worst 12,571 fans last season. The Kings, with only Kevin Martin and promising young big men Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes, also look to be at least three years away from playoff contention.

Washington could be a good situation considering the Wizards’ main problem last season was injuries to its core players. But no matter what position people classify Gilbert Arenas as, the Wizards don’t seem likely to move him to shooting guard in favor of playing Rubio at point guard.

There is no perfect situation for Rubio to walk into. Even if a trade takes place every team has something the Spanish sensation will have to overcome. Either he wants to play in the NBA or he doesn’t. But the saga will continue through June 25 and perhaps beyond. But I for one am starting to wonder whether Rubio is worth the headache that might be waiting.


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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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