Responding to rumors Spanish teen PG Ricky Rubio doesn’t wanna end up in Memphis or Oklahoma City (and basketball reasons aside, who can blame him about the latter), Pro Basketball News’ Sam Amico says of Rubio’s agent Dan Feigen, ” just know that snakes have been known to grow legs just to get up and run when they see him coming.” Though acknowledging Rubio is said to be “quick and intelligent with the ball”, Amico warns, “everyone was saying similar things about Sarunas Jasikevicius several years back.”
Jasikevicius (avove) came to the NBA and proved to be a great guy with good basketball skills. But there are a lot of those types around the world who simply aren’t meant to play in the league (i.e. Yi Jianlian).
A lot of international players have trouble adapting to American culture, greasy food, the way the game is played, the absurd amounts of money and just becoming a member of the steak-and-jet set.
Granted, Jasikevicius was more or a less a jump shooter who got hot during the world championships, while Rubio teamed with the likes of Pau Gasol and Rudy Fernandez, and more than held his own. It’s clear, Rubio is a more poised, steady player than Jasikevicius ever was.
At the same time, Jasikevicius came to the NBA as a player in his late 20s, and someone who had experience playing in the U.S. as a collegian at Maryland. Rubio has never been the teammate of an American-bred NBA star before. And that takes some adjusting. Just ask American-bred point guards who starred in high school or college in America. The wing players and big men want the ball, man. And you had better get it to them.
Fegan tried this same routine with Yi Jianlian and Milwaukee — and after drafting Yi, the Bucks relented after a season and traded him to New Jersey. Now the Nets can’t wait to get rid of him.
Years ago, former NBA guard Steve Francis said he didn’t want to play for the then-Vancouver Grizzlies. So he spent the majority of his career hogging the ball in Houston before fizzling out when someone finally expected him to act like a winner.
Clearly, Stevie Franchise’s problem was making the transition from the European climate of College Park, MD to the steak-and-jet-set scene of Houston, TX.