Ricky Rubio Arrives in Minnesota


Ricky Rubio arrived in Minneapolis today to quite the scene.

200 people waited for the 20-year old Rubio at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. There were signs, cheers, and plenty of camera bulbs flashed as the Timberwolves new point-guard stepped foot in Minnesota.

The alleged excitement and thrill of those in the room was the exact opposite that fans of AMC’s The Killing had in the show’s season finale Sunday night.

Within the group of 200 stood Timberwolves autograph seekers, cheerleaders, and general manager David Kahn; the biggest Rubio fan of them all.

Kahn has put all of his eggs into the Rubio basket. At times many deemed Kahn crazy for ever thinking the superstar point guard would wear a Timberwolves uniform.

When Rubio was drafted fifth overall by the Timberwolves in 2009, there was endless hype around the then 18-yaer old. But a season plagued by injuries and lack luster shooting have led many—especially in the Twin Cities—to doubt the potential that many believe Rubio has.

This past season in Europe playing for Barcelona of the Spanish ACB League, Rubio’s numbers looked like this:

  • 4.8 points per game.
  • 4.1 assists per game.
  • 32% field goal percentage.
  • 25.9% three-point percentage.
  • 21.8 minutes per game.

Even Jonny Flynn would say those numbers were soft.

Many basketball minds would agree. Yet I believe that at the NBA level those numbers don’t translate very well. The European game is more structured in which guards, especially point-guards, share minutes relatively evenly with their teammates. With more expectations to control the game, not create.

Whereas the NBA is an open floor game. Which allows more room for creativity, the ability to get to the rim, and puts less faith in a point-guards ability to hit from deep.

I would like to suggest that we take Rubio’s European numbers with a northern Minnesota salt truck of salt.

You may say I’m crazy, but early today on Twitter I showed Brandon Jennings 2008-09 Italian League numbers when he was an 18-year old. The same Brandon Jennings that in his two years in the NBA has made Milwaukee a relatively exciting team to watch.

Those aforementioned 08-98 Italian numbers:

  • 5.5 points per game.
  • 2.2 assists per game.
  • 35.1 % field goal percentage.
  • 20.7% three-point percentage.
  • 17 minutes per game.

The same Brandon Jennings who won the 2008 Naismith Prep Player of the Year award.

Oh and the same Brandon Jennings who has put up these career averages in his first two seasons in the NBA:

  • 15.8 points per game.
  • 5.3 assists per game.
  • 37.9% field goal percentage.
  • 35.2% three-point percentage.
  • 33.4 minutes per game.

While the Jennings and Rubio comparisons could go on-and-on, I’ll let the Rubio haters try free themselves from the box I put them in.

But I’ll leave you—for now—with this Rubio tweet from the man himself.

I juat arrive to the hotel here in MN. I was so impresive in da airport. Thanks a lot of u guys. I feel comfortable here. Time to rest!!!

Welcome to Minnesota, Ricky.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. If he wasn’t broke from four years of college, he would’ve been with the 200 other fans at MSP airport waiting for Rubio’s arrival. You can follow Brett on Twitter @brettcloutier




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