Rubio: ‘It’s Getting Better All The Time’

6. Ricky Rubio (Spain)
No scoring, No problem for Ricky Rubio who is more than happy to do other things on the court in this star-laden Spain team

Ricky Rubio is comfortable with his role in a Spain team that many wondered if he would make this summer.

The playmaker should make his much anticipated debut in the NBA this coming season with the Minnesota Timberwolves if the lockout ends and he's hoping it will be a breath of fresh air because there were some tough times at Barcelona.

Rubio doesn't possess a great jump shot but passes extremely well and plays as good a defense as any player at the EuroBasket.

He didn't score in the 77-68 win over Germany on Wednesday and frankly, he doesn't care.

"Little by little, I'm getting better as the tournament goes on," he says.

"I feel more comfortable, although I still have to improve in shooting.

"I think I've done well in other facets of the game and that boosts my confidence.

"I know my limitations and my strengths and I have to take advantage of those.

"My strength is defending and hopefully I will see my shots go in but it does not worry me."

Many people believe that the 20-year-old Rubio will excel in the NBA in a more open game than the grind-it-out contest that he often encounters in Europe.

In travelling to Lithuania, Rubio is extremely happy.

He gets to be around men that he has looked up to for a long time and understand what it takes to be the best.

Pau Gasol, for example, had a sprained ankle and couldn't play in Spain's last Group A game against Turkey but did feature against Germany.

It showed a lot of commitment, Rubio says.

"Pau is the leader of this national team," Rubio said.

"His ankle was hurting before the game against Germany and he made a great effort to play and he was key to our victory.

"We should erect a monument for him.

"All of Spain should love him because he really helped us despite the pain."

Spain players did not seem to be entirely happy during their game against Germany.

There did appear to be an argument between Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez.

This should be no cause for panic because teams that win sometimes have conflicts on the court or during practice.

The key is for everyone to pull in the same direction and have the same aim.

"We have to focus on the positives and leave behind the bad feelings," Rubio says.

"We may not be having the best of tournaments shooting wise but we know that can change from one day to the next, as was the case against Lithuania (Spain shot 13 of 26 (50%) from three-point range).

"We are having a good tournament regardless of whether some shots go in or not.
"The best thing about our team is that we can play many different ways.

"We prefer when we can defend and run but we also know how to play five against five because we have very good players."

"But when the shots eventually go in, then we will be firing all cylinders.

"We just need a bit of luck."

Ricky is averaging 1.5 points per game while Spain are shooting 33 of 113 (29.2%) from three-point range.

Spain take on Serbia on Friday in Group E before meeting France three days later.

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