Is Ricky Rubio of Minnesota Timberwolves a Front Runner for Rookie of the Year?

Kaleb Smith@Kaleb SmithCorrespondent IFebruary 29, 2012

Ricky Rubio leads the Wolves back court as Minnesota streaks towards the playoffs!
Ricky Rubio leads the Wolves back court as Minnesota streaks towards the playoffs!Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

After 35 games into the NBA season, there is a strong indicator of who the rookie of the year may be—the Minnesota Timberwolves' Spanish 21-year-old phenom, Ricky Rubio.

After looking at this year of rookies, few have produced and made an impact on their teams.  Only two truly come to mind for excelling, Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio.

Despite being a strong rookie in the NBA, Rubio has in fact been playing professional basketball since the age of 14. Somewhat a seasoned veteran, Ricky Rubio's rookie season for the Minnesota Timberwolves has yet to be a letdown. 

Timberwolves fans have been aching for exciting action. Kevin Love has flourished into an explosive power forward and arguably one of the best.

Yet, like all players, cannot lead a team alone.

Throughout this season, the Wolves have been sparked with the silky smooth passes from Ricky Rubio, thus encasing the Target Center back in the lime light. 

Minnesota basketball has not been this exciting since the jamming years of Kevin Garnett.

His numbers impress for a rookie, especially a point guard who happens to be a true point guard—pass first, shoot second.

His season averages are 11.3 points per game and 8.4 assists per game, both fifth in the league and first for rookies. The amount of steals, 2.4 per game, is second in the league only behind Rajon Rondo.

Rubio even holds an impressive 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Rubio has played outstanding, especially since starting the season off the bench. Even as he leads the team, he continues to split backcourt duties with Luke Ridnour, another point guard.

He needs work on his jump shot, though, in time, that will come.

However, an ability to lead and involve teammates like he does hasn't been seen since the likes of John Stockton, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash. 

In just half of a season, he is joining the ranks of current point guards Rondo and Chris Paul as a top leader.

Rubio's impact on the Timberwolves has been exponential, not only in the leadership and in the energy brought to the court, but the legitimacy back to the Minnesota. 

The Timberwolves are finally over the .500 mark for the first time in four years, and making a push towards the playoffs.