Many would argue that he garnered far better experience playing for championships in the Euroleague and ACB this season than he would have losing 50+ games on a non-competitive team in the NBA.
This Euroleague Final Four likely represents the biggest challenge of Rubio’s young career thus far, and it will be fascinating to see how he fares on this stage. Kahn and Rubio’s NBA agent, Dan Fegan, will be watching him closely–as will every other NBA team in attendance, and his many fans around the globe.
These two teams met in the semis last year, where CSKA pulled out a 82-78 win. Much like last year, you have a contrast in styles between the two teams–Barca likes to push the pace while CSKA wants a more controlled atmosphere on both ends of the floor. Both teams spread the floor very well and are tough on the defensive end. Should be a great game between two closely matched teams.
Olympiacos’ season ended in the semis last year, but this year they’re a heavy fave over Partizan. Partizan is the clear underdog in the Final Four field. Partizan has played way above their station all season. Partizan just does not have the depth of the other Final 4 teams. These two teams split in first round play, Partizan winning at home by six and Olympiacos cruising to a 81-60 win at home. Though, Maric was absent with a mid-season injury for the 21-point loss in Greece.
Barcelona, on the other hand, has the undisputed rock star of the tournament, floppy-haired point guard Ricky Rubio. Drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves last year, Rubio decided to stay in his native Spain. His precocious playmaking at the 2008 Olympics, when he was only 17, made believers of the NBA stars on the gold-medal-winning U.S. team.
When Mensah-Bonsu, who played briefly alongside Rubio last year in Spain, was asked Thursday if he is ready for the NBA, the response was quick. “Ricky Rubio can play for any team, anywhere,” he said. “He plays way beyond his years.”
In other news…
Bleacher Report writer Timber Wolf thinks the Wolves need to be selfish this offseason
The Wolves have a legitimate chance(19.9%) of nabbing the number one pick, and if they do, the question is, will they attempt to grab the second pick?
Is it greed? Maybe. Is it smart though? More than likely.