Flip Saunders: You Can Compare Ricky Rubio To Jason Williams

August 3, 2009 – 9:45 am by Tas Melas

Flip Saunders is one of those coaches that gets wins but doesn’t necessarily get a lot of publicity while doing it.  Yes, he’s recognized as a good coach, but not necessarily one of the elite; I’m looking forward to seeing how far his Wizards can rise this year.  Even without a coach sitting in his cushy chair, Washington would have improved greatly simply because they seem to be getting healthy, but it’ll take Flip to hold this team together and keep them motivated if they’re gonna sniff the elite in the east.  I think it’s known that if Flip is handled a roster filled with talent, he’ll produce.  Let’s just hope that talent is healthy enough that the Wizards don’t have that crutch of injuries to fall back on.  Saunders joined KFAN in Minneapolis to discuss why Sam Cassell will help greatly, his rotation, and he links Ricky Rubio to a baller (likely associated for the first time).

On new assistant coach Sam Cassell helping to manage egos:

“For me, it’s a lot easier going in to that situation with everyone coming in, ’cause even though you might not like Sam, Sam Cassell has had a lot of contact with those guys.  And, Sam has told them this: ‘You better understand something guys, Flip’s gonna play eight players.  That’s it.  You better do what you gotta do to be one of those eight players, if not, don’t be complaining.”

On his philosophy of playing only eight players:

“When you start playing too many players, what happens is no one gets in to any kind of flow.  My philosophy’s always been you play eight players, nine and ten play when you have some foul trouble which you’re always gonna usually have in a game.  If you’re eleven and twelve, you better be working to get to nine and ten.”

On who Ricky Rubio reminds him of:

“If you have to compare him to someone, you compare him to Jason Williams.  Jason came in, same type of player.  When he was in Sacramento, spectacular passer, really initiate things; Jason was probably actually a better defender than Rubio is, but Rubio is only 18, Jason came in 21, 22.  He’s gonna be a good player in this league.  One thing he can do, he’s a phenomenal passer in the open floor, that’s one thing he can really do.”

Listen to Flip Saunders on KFAN in Minneapolis (starts at 2:55)

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  1. 6 Responses to “Flip Saunders: You Can Compare Ricky Rubio To Jason Williams”

  2. Do not agree: Ricky is by far the best defender I’ve ever seen at his age. Don’t think that defense is os has ever been one of the top aspects in Jason’s game, but is one of the trademarks of Rubio’s intense style of play.

    His long wingspan can drive you crazy if you try to dribble over him. He has led the Spanish league the last 2 years in steals.

    By Jaime on Aug 3, 2009

  3. Mabye he can lead the spanish league in steals but this is the nba were talking about, almost every night your facing a quality point guard who has just as much quickness to combat his length. It will be tough for rubio to duplicate the kind of success he had in europe where although the players are quality its no comparison to the Steve Nashes, Cp3s, Deron Williams, Devin Harris, etc, that he will face in the nba.

    Its definantly going to be an adjustment for Rubio with the nba’s relatively “strict” policy on carrying the ball, (compared to that in Europe). In that fashion i definitely agree that there are similarities between Jason Williams’ game and Rubio’s. They are both uptempo open-court players, which in the nba (for Jason at least), translated into a high risk high reward style of play where he was very turnover prone but definitely exciting to watch which seems to be the expectation that a lot are putting on Rubio.

    Looking foreward to see how he develops!

    By Ka Pao on Aug 6, 2009

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