If Jonny Flynn Proves Himself in 2009-10, Wolves Should Ship Rick Rubio
Following David Kahn's initial draft as the new Wolves general manager, the vast majority of talk among fans has been about Spanish prodigy Rick Rubio, and justifiably so.
Rubio has been dubbed the next great NBA point guard by many experts and analysts, and the hype surrounding this kid is substantial.
However, with rumors that he will remain in Spain for possibly the next two years, the focus shifts to the Wolves' other first round point guard, Jonny Flynn.
Much of the speculation about Kahn's drafting of two point guards back-to-back had been on trading Flynn once Rubio signed with the team or somehow trying to have the two floor generals co-exist on the court together.
Now that Rubio appears at least a season or two away from suiting up in the blue and green, Jonny Flynn really has a golden opportunity: an opportunity to run the point exclusively for the team and prove to the Timberwolves faithful that he, not Rubio, should be considered the point guard of the future.
Let's say Flynn takes full advantage of the fact that he will get to log big minutes at point guard, and averages something like 14 ppg and seven apg, and in doing so, totally convinces Wolves fans that he is a legitimate starting-caliber point guard in the NBA.
What do you do with Rubio when he finally plays out his contract in Europe and is ready to join the Wolves?
Do you now try to force the 20-year-old Rubio into the equation by taking away some of Flynn's well-deserved minutes?
Do you risk upsetting team chemistry and utter failure by trying to play two point guards on the floor?
Do you trade away Flynn, a proven commodity at point guard, just because Rubio is supposed to be the next Steve Nash?
I say no, no, and no.
If Flynn does in fact have a sensational rookie season (and great sophomore season, if Rubio stays in Europe for two full seasons), the Wolves need to roll with him as the point guard-of-the-future and look to trade Rubio for help at shooting guard and/or small forward.
Just because Rubio is perceived by many to be the superior prospect, the Wolves should not be afraid to deal him if Flynn succeeds while Ricky is away.
Kahn himself, as well as many Timberwolves rubes, have suggested that Rubio and Flynn could succeed playing together in the backcourt. I could not disagree more.
With a dynamic post presence in Al Jefferson as the cornerstone of the team, it is imperative that the Wolves' backcourt have at least one respectable three-point shooter in order to space the floor.
Take the Orlando Magic as a case study. Their offense is a very good balance between Dwight Howard dominating down low, and three or four very good shooters on the floor in order to punish teams for double and triple-teaming the big man. This strategy was good enough to make the Magic an NBA finalist last season.
In Minnesota, Rubio and Flynn would definitely be an exciting duo, with both being able to handle the ball and set up cutting teammates. But in the predominantly half-court offense the Wolves will run with Jefferson, I'm not sure it would be a winning combination.
Defensively, a Rubio/Flynn guard combo would cause the Wolves to suffer greatly. At 6'4", Rubio would be forced to guard opposing teams' off-guards, while the 6'1" Flynn would defend point guards.
But imagine teams with bigger, more physical guards. Teams would be able to exploit Rubio almost at will. And with the lack of a true shot-blocker on the roster, with neither Jefferson nor Love being particularly strong in that regard, that would spell disaster for the Wolves on the defensive end.
In the end, I believe that trading Rubio would be the best solution if Flynn can manage to prove himself.
Rubio would command a substantial bounty in return based on his reputation and hype alone. Without ever having played an NBA game, Rubio would probably allow the Wolves to land a very good player in return.
This all, of course, hinges on the assumption that Flynn pans out as a player and meets or exceeds the lofty expectations that Kahn has placed upon him.
If Flynn proves to be simply average or an outright bust, obviously the Wolves should hang on to Rubio's rights and hope he is the real deal.
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