5 Backup Plans for Rubio This Offseason
In a year when the Timberwolves were finally creating excitement, building some confidence and making a solid run at the playoffs, they suddenly found themselves without their star point guard.
Although many—including myself—believe that Rubio's youth and physical shape will yield to a quick recovery, one can't deny the "what if?" scenario.
What if the 21-year-old does recover, but not as quickly as doctors are anticipating? What if he's not ready to go when the season kicks off? What if he never fully recovers?
There are several point guards on the 2012 NBA free-agency list, and Minnesota may need a backup plan at that position.
Here are five PG options for the Timberwolves looking ahead to next season.
Aaron Brooks, Phoenix Suns
Aaron Brooks is a question mark.
He's not my first choice, but he has the potential to be an adequate fit.
Although Brooks is currently tied to the Suns, he could become an unrestricted free agent when he returns. In that case, Minnesota might look at the Oregon alum as a backup option should Rubio's recovery stall.
My biggest concern with Brooks is not his low point totals—after all, Rubio didn't join the Wolves with the reputation of being a shooter. Rubio's strong point however, was his ability to run the floor and dish out a large number of assists each game. Brooks lacks a bit in this area.
If Rubio doesn't make it back in time for the first game of the season, Minnesota will need another PG. If Brooks is that man, I think he'd fit stronger as a backup to Luke Ridnour.
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
I would love to have veteran Steve Nash as a backup option for Rubio.
In his 16th NBA season, Nash is still one of the best point guards to ever play the game. His style is one modeled by Rubio, and he would be an excellent addition to the Wolves' roster.
Nash is currently averaging 12.7 PPG while dishing out an average of 11.3 APG.
Considering he probably won't be in the league much longer, Nash could be the perfect fill-in until Rubio is healthy and back on the court.
Unfortunately, the Canadian native seems pretty content with his current team, and Phoenix doesn't seem overly eager to part ways with their franchise PG.
Minnesota would definitely have to prove itself as a serious contender for Nash to consider this move so late in his career.
Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks
A recent sensation, would "Linsanity" transfer well to the Midwest?
Jeremy Lin has been a hype-starter for New York, and he certainly looks to have years of potential remaining. He was averaging 14.6 PPG and 6.1 APG until a recent meniscus tear sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
In my opinion, the knee injury won't lessen the point guard's value. He's young and resilient, and a meniscus tear proves less detrimental than an ACL tear.
If teams aren't scared off by the injury, he'll be in high demand. This is Lin's first breakout season in the NBA, and he doesn't seem to be someone who necessarily seeks out the limelight.
In fact, Lin could be interested in coming to a city like Minnesota, where a young ball club and experienced coach offer potential for upcoming seasons.
If the Knicks don't want to let him go, however, they can make Lin a qualifying offer by June 30th. This would effectively make Lin a restricted free agent, meaning that New York could match any offer to keep the 23-year-old in the Big Apple.
Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets
There's no doubt about it—Deron Williams will bring success to whichever team he ends up with.
In his eighth year, Williams is averaging 21.6 points and 8.6 assists per game for New Jersey. He is an ETO (early termination option) free agent for 2012, meaning his FA status is basically up to him. Should the Illinois alum choose to invoke the option by June 30th, he will be an unrestricted free agent. If he doesn't, he will remain under contract for the duration of the original deal with the Nets.
Williams choosing to leave New Jersey is not that far-fetched, as the 27-year-old seems disgruntled with his current team. The Nets hold a less-than-impressive 19-35 record, and Williams recently admitted he plays for a sub-par team.
A player of Williams' caliber has to feel the pressure to move on, and Minnesota could offer him a place to shine. Granted, the Wolves' record isn't exactly championship caliber, but if Nikola Pekovic, Michael Beasley and J.J. Barea can return healthy next season, Minnesota will be a serious postseason contender.
Add Williams to the mix, and it's a no-brainer. Williams could join a young team making itself relevant in the league, and he could shine as one of their stars.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
The last option is my favorite—and most probable.
Minnesota doesn't need a backup.
While it certainly stung to lose Rubio to the injury bug, I'm confident the rookie will return at the same caliber he was prior to March 10th.
The rookie continues to encourage his team and fans alike, staying active on his personal Twitter account and keeping everyone up to date on his recovery.
Playing basketball from the age of 14 and averaging 10.6 PPG and 8.2 APG in his first NBA season, I'm confident Rubio has the passion and resiliency to keep his starting position in Minnesota.