There’s been hype surrounding Ricky Rubio since before the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him in 2009. Now, he’s got considerable Rookie of the Year hype and for very good reasons.
Rubio is leading the ROY race for a variety of reasons. He’s shown that he’s talented, he’s already well-known and he’s mature. All of those factors combine for a top-notch rookie candidate.
It was clear to anyone who watched film of Rubio playing in Spain that the kid had talent. But no one had any idea that he’d be this good this quick.
Through the first nine games of the season, Rubio has averaged 9.9 points, 7.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He’s averaged those numbers off the bench.
Those are mind-blowing stats for a rookie who has to adjust to a much different style of play after having no offseason to work with his team.
Rubio is clearly a very well-rounded player. But it doesn’t stop there. He’s also being extremely efficient. His player efficiency rating is 17.59, which ranks sixth in rookies. That’s very good considering he isn’t a starter or the main option on his team.
The rookie point guard is shooting 45 percent from the field, 70 percent from the free-throw line and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Rubio doesn’t take shots unless he has a good shot at making them. He’s a true, pure point guard.
Rubio’s draft by the Timberwolves and his unwillingness in the beginning to come play for them made big headlines.
Many American sports pundits responded by questioning his ability to play and wondering if he had been really worth the pick the Wolves had used on him.
He’s obviously proven so far that he was worth it. But all the discussion has drummed up a lot of publicity for the kid. As a great man once said, “All publicity is good publicity.”
My fiancé does not watch the NBA, or most sports in general. The average sports star that the average sports fan could pick out she would have no clue about.
Yet, she knows who Ricky Rubio is. Not just the name either. We happened upon a picture of him on this website and she immediately knew his name.
What’s my point? People, not just sports fans, know who this guy is. He’s a big name and was so even before he’d ever done anything in this league.
Every NBA award is a popularity contest on some level. His public image is a great advantage over other candidates.
The average NBA rookie is a 19-22 year old college kid who has never had to manage his own money or really live on his own.
Rubio isn’t that guy. Rubio has been playing professional basketball and earning a salary since 2005. He’s played on the Spanish national team and was the Euroleague Rising Star in 2010.
He’s negotiated deals with multiple professional teams like Joventut, FC Barcelona and the Timberwolves themselves. Rubio knows how to be a professional basketball player, a vast advantage over a regular rookie who is being required to learn all of these things on the fly.
The off-the-court stuff is what many NBA rookies struggle with, especially when they have to learn it simultaneously with the on-the-court stuff. Rubio won’t have to do that.
He’s a Lock to Win It
The Spaniard has too many advantages over the other candidates. He’s becoming a better NBA point guard right now, while they are still learning what the NBA is all about. He’s more well-rounded than any of them, and that will improve when he earns a starting position (inevitable). He’s also better known than any of them.
Rubio is a lock to win Rookie of the Year. He’s too well-rounded, recognizable and mature not to.