Chris Wallace Re: Rubio – If We Want Him, We’ll Take Him

June 22, 2009 – 9:30 am by Tas Melas

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like Ricky Rubio would rather not play for the Memphis Grizzlies.  The Grizz hold the number two pick in this Thursday’s draft but the thinking is that they would be taking a risk by selecting the Spanish guard who didn’t work out for them.  After having seen the fiasco which took place when the Bucks selected Chinese forward, Yi Jianlian, in ’07, will the small-market Grizzlies take that chance?  Now, I’m not a doctor, but it sounds like Memphis GM, Chris Wallace, is very open to trading down or out of the draft by his tone in this interview.  Their young roster is filled with a lot of talent but also a lot of inexperience.  Is there a veteran star available at a decent price especially with teams looking to clear out room for the summer of 2010?  Wallace joined Ryan Russillo on Tirico and Van Peltto discuss if the Grizzlies would be comfortable selecting Rubio, why Ricky hasn’t worked out for the team, and if Memphis will be drafting based on position.

What’s your take on Ricky Rubio and will you draft him despite him not working out for Memphis?

“We met with Ricky, Coach Lionel Hollins and I flew to Spain within days of getting the second pick in the lottery back in May, watched him play.  I’d seen him play in the past and we had a good meeting with him and his family, and our Spanish center, Marc Gasol, accompanied us to that meeting.  Ricky has not agreed to come in to a visit yet for Memphis but as we’ve told his representatives, if we want him, we’ll take him.  We’ve told that to other players that for whatever reason didn’t wanna come in here and work out as well.  So, that won’t deter us from drafting him.”

Why hasn’t Rubio worked out for you?

“He hasn’t worked out to the best of my knowledge – he maybe works out today in Sacramento, I’m not sure about that – but I would not be surprised if he hasn’t worked out anywhere.  He has only, as of last night, only one visit scheduled Ryan, and that’s one with Sacramento.  He may actually go to Oklahoma City or us or Washington, who knows, but as late last night, they only had one visit scheduled.  We’ve actually met him before so we feel very comfortable with him whether we meet him again, work him out between now and the draft, or not.”

Will your current roster dictate your picks?

“We are going to take the best available player if we stay at number two regardless of where that player fits in on our roster, because we’ve got very good young players all throughout our starting lineup, so whoever we select is going to be in a spot where we’ve got some other young player… We’re not really gonna let the current roster dictate who we’re gonna select.”

How do you feel about the draft overall?

“There’s some outstanding players in our neighborhood at the second pick and further back in the lottery.  I think this draft is a little better than advertised – it was really criticized for quite sometime – I don’t think it’s a draft for the ages but I do think there are quality players.  I think we’re gonna be fine and in terrific shape if we stand pat and exercise the second pick.”

Listen to Chris Wallace on ESPN Radio with Tirico and Van Pelt (15:45)

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