La Pistola Pt. 4: Ricky Rubio Needs the NBA and the Timberwolves To Get Better

Timber WolfAnalyst IIJanuary 8, 2011

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers (2nd-L) fights for a rebound against Fran Vazquez #17 of the Regal FC Barcelona (L), Terence Morris #23 of the Regal FC Barcelona (2nd-R) and Ricky Rubio #9 of the Regal FC Barcelona during the NBA Europe Live match between Los Angeles Lakers and Regal FC Barcelona at the at Palau Blaugrana on October 7, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Insiders tell me that Ricky Rubio just might be bored with playing overseas, and frankly I don't blame him. For a guy that has played in a professional league since he was 14 (20 years of age), playing with nothing but the best players can get boring. Being so young and so talented there's plenty of room to grow, but hardly comes a prospect that has the polish and floor skills of Ricky Rubio.

If by now, you don't know about the man named Rubio, please go to YouTube or look at the video featured in his article. In a nutshell, Rubio is an incredible passer, ball handler and has also been known to have incredible defensive instincts. The difference between Rubio and another college prospect is that while guys 14 years old are playing high school ball, Rubio was playing professional basketball. He has played in the Olympic Games twice, and hasn't disappointed.

And while he doesn't score or dish as much as he can, the fact of the matter is that his team runs much better when he's on the floor.

From watching the Timberwolves, the current point guard situation is an absolute wreck at times. Luke Ridnour is more suited for a bench role, and Jonny Flynn appears at times to be running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Ricky Rubio stepping into the role as a starter for the Minnesota Timberwolves just makes sense looking at their offensive sets.

There is virtually no drive and kick opportunities, no court vision and quite frankly the Timberwolves running game looks absolutely horrible. Rubio is the polar opposite of all those deficiencies.

Where Luke Ridnour will run up the court and take a three-point shot with a 2-on-1 situation, Ricky Rubio will make a flashy behind-the-back dribble move and hit the open man with a no-look pass. Where Jonny Flynn will come around the pick and for some reason cannot use his explosiveness and quickness to beat his man, Ricky Rubio will use his ball handling savvy to create a disadvantage to hit a three-point shooter for an open shot.

In pure honesty, the point guard position is still a wreck for the 'Wolves despite undergoing media torture with the 2008 NBA draft, Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour. Countless mistakes, stupid turnovers, improper reads, shady defense, hot and cold shooting—just overall needing some serious heat checks.

Rubio comes with the demeanor of knowing what he can and can't do. He won't shoot a contested three-point shot, he won't drive into traffic and start throwing ill-advised passes all over the places, but most importantly, he serves as a true ball handler that his teammates will know to keep themselves alert for the ball.

The most important talent that Rubio could bring is his intensity on the defensive end. Rubio once said something along the lines of knowing that defense is the most important thing if your team wants to get out and run.

Standing at 6'3'' with a freaky wingspan, Rubio isn't your typical John Wall/Derrick Rose freak athlete. But where his athleticism lacks, his feel for the game goes a long way. Head coach Kurt Rambis describes team defense at its best when instead it's anticipated, and not reacted. Rubio anticipates the pass, or the crossover, and complemented with relentlessness, he can defend at an average level at the PG position. Average sounds so good when it comes to the Timberwolves point guards.

Coming to the Minnesota Timberwolves, he is in a position to make an immediate impact due to the talent that he will be surrounded with. An improved Michael Beasley, a monster Kevin Love and super athletic forward Wes Johnson.

It makes too much sense for the T'Wolves to ensure that Rubio's transition is as smooth as possible. He will have a go-to wing player, a double-double machine that can knock down shots from everywhere, and a few wing players that he can make better. It will take at least two years for Rubio to reach an All-Star level with his skill set, but as a rookie, he will more than likely be a better fit than Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn, making both of them expendable.

At this point, the Timberwolves organization is all in on Rubio. They need someone to market, they need a point guard that can bring people into the stands to watch, and they need to add a different dimension to their offense. Look down the board, all the top teams have either a top point guard or a top center. Will Rubio become a top point guard? Timberwolves fans and the organization hope so.