After waiting three years for Ricky Rubio to come to Minnesota, everyone was curious about how he would turn out as an NBA point guard. Many thought Rubio was going to be a flop. They laughed at David Kahn for being so persistent and patient with the young Spanish star. Even Wolves owner Glen Taylor began to wonder if Kahn knew what he was doing. It seemed the only people who believed Rubio was going to be an NBA star were David Kahn and Magic Johnson. The former was quickly becoming the laughing stock of NBA GMs (KAHHHHHHHHNNNN!); the latter knows a thing or two about the point guard position. Despite what everyone may have thought, or what even Rubio himself thought he would do once he stepped foot in Minnesota, few thought he’d make his presence felt so quickly.
14 games into his young career, Rubio is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.7 ppg, 8.3 apg, and 4.6 rpg. He is 8th in the league in assists and that number is sure to go up as his minutes increase. Unlike most every other player in the NBA, Rubio has played nearly every minute in the 4th quarter. Veteran coach Rick Adelman trusts Ricky Rubio’s judgement with the ball so much that he entrusts the closing moments of every game to him. Forget Rookie of the Year talk, Rubio is actually getting attention as a potential All Star. All Star Ricky Rubio?!? While it’s unlikely this year, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. It’s been 8 years since Minnesota’s NBA squad has boasted two All Stars. If they re-sign Kevin Love, (which needs to happen stat), we’ll have dual All Star selections for many years to come.
What’s most impressive from this 21 year-old kid is his ability to make everyone around him better. What a novelty right? A PG that makes the rest of his team better? His arrival has launched Kevin Love All Star into Kevin Love MVP-candidate. Rubio and Ridnour have figured out how to play together, making Ridnour a valuable piece of the puzzle. He has rejuvenated Tolliver into a pivotal role player. The times when the other young rookie on the team has looked impressive are all on passes from Rubio. Once Derrick Williams figures out how to get his shot off in the NBA, you can be sure Ricky will get him the ball at the perfect spot. Rubio has been so impressive in his first 14 games that it’s not unimaginable that he could be averaging a triple-double in two seasons. He’s looked that good and the NBA-style fits his game perfectly. It’s not just on offense either. Rubio’s defense continues to frustrate opposing point guards. And as long as he continues to knock down open jumpers, Rubio will remain the leading Rookie of the Year candidate.
Yes, Rubio’s arrival has taken Minnesota and the rest of the nation by storm. The dark cloud of re-signing Kevin Love hangs heavy over this franchise. If they can finalize Love’s deal in the next few days, (and that feels like a big IF), the Minnesota Timberwolves will be a team to take seriously for years to come. Imagine for second that you’re an elite scorer in the NBA. You love to shoot and you love to score. And you do it well. You’re looking to sign with a team in free agency and your agent suggests Minnesota. Too cold, you think. Then your agent reminds you that the Wolves have the best passer in the game and the NBA’s best rebounder who loves (no pun intended) cleaning the glass and throwing outlet passes. You don’t think you could get over the cold?