Ever since Ricky Rubio became a professional basketball player at the tender age of 14, he has been praised and glorified as a basketball-playing Houdini, seemingly always finding the open player and delivering a pass right on the mark.
Rubio showcased his talents in the 2008 Olympics playing against the NBA's elite, including LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, who were thoroughly impressed with Ricky's on-court vision.
Rubio was the headliner—but also the biggest question mark—of the 2009 NBA draft. It only took five picks to find out where Ricky would be answering his critics when the Minnesota Timberwolves selected the Spanish teenager.
As it turned out, Ricky decided to stay in Spain for the next two seasons, much to the dismay of the Timberwolves faithful.
With the start of the 2011-2012 season approaching and Rubio finally on his way to Minnesota to start his career, the NBA was buzzing about the new-look Timberwolves.
Now 10 games into the season, even with a stand-alone superstar in Kevin Love and the second overall pick Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves are tied for the worst record in the Western Conference at 3-7.
Rubio has lived up to the hype, however, delivering show-time passes and knocking down big shots. Furthermore, the Timberwolves opened the year playing some of the toughest teams in the league very close. This Minnesota team is simply very young and needs to learn how to finish tight games.
The transition to playing in the NBA is not a problem for the Spanish superstar, but winning in the NBA is a completely different issue. The Timberwolves are one of the most inexperienced teams in the league, and although the upside of this exciting, youth-filled group may be great, new coach Rick Adelman may have his hands full for the time being.
Adelman has said multiple times that this year’s team may not show immense improvements in the wins column, but he emphasizes that his team will be improving every day with its young players as focal points.
The excitement surrounding the Timberwolves is something that Minnesota fans are not exactly accustomed to, but does this new-found buzz overshadow the fact that the Wolves are still a year or two away from being contenders?
The answer to that question lies in the hands of the most publicized young gun on the roster. Ricky Rubio will have a success-filled career playing on this side of the pond, but the road to a championship may be filled with growing pains for the 21-year-old phenomenon.