Scott Halleran/Getty Images
By the time Rubio finally found his groove, Kevin Love was lost for the season.
Flashback to March 9, 2012, just over a year ago. Minnesota was sitting pretty in the eighth seed in the West behind its new superstar in Kevin Love and the floppy-haired point guard who won over the league with his extraordinary passing and radiant personality.
Then Rubio tore his ACL, sending the entire franchise downhill.
This season could accurately be described as a long hangover from last season's sour ending. With Rubio out, Love was forced to overwork himself and although he put up some jaw-dropping performances, he was run into the ground before also finishing the season on the shelf.
This year was supposed to be different. These two were supposed to take the league by storm once Rubio came back and finally break the team's long playoff drought.
Rubio and Love's stars never aligned together this season. Love broke his hand during the preseason, and once he and Rubio both came back, neither looked the same. Love ultimately broke his hand again and the rest is history.
With the dead weight of Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic off the roster, the playoffs did not seem like a far-fetched idea at all. If healthy, anything less would have been a disappointment. The one positive is this was the first season in team history they have won 30 games without Kevin Garnett on the roster.
Their slight resurgence towards the end of the year has left glimpses of hope for next year and provided a small preview of what could have been. However, the reality is that without Love and Rubio running the show at full strength, the entire season was a bit of a loss.