Ricky Rubio: Not the (immediate) Answer to the Timberwolves Problems

Zach MentzContributor IIIJune 2, 2011

Ricky Rubio has obvious talent, but only time will tell  whether he can improve and adjust his game.
Ricky Rubio has obvious talent, but only time will tell whether he can improve and adjust his game.Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

For over two years now, the name Ricky Rubio has been a name that NBA fans have been familiar with. However, that's all most NBA fans are familiar with when it comes to Ricky Rubio—just his name.

After being selected fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA draft, NBA fans have heard Ricky Rubio's name from time to time, but most don't know much about him besides the fact that he declined to buy out his contract with F.C. Barcelona of Spain in 2009.

However, the time has finally come for Ricky Rubio to come to the NBA, as he recently agreed to a $1.2 million buyout with F.C. Barcelona to allow him to play in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The T'Wolves also contributed $500,000 of the $1.2 million buyout, as NBA rules prevent teams from spending more than $500,000 on a contract buyout.

While some NBA fans, especially Minnesota fans, may be excited at the arrival of Rubio and are buying into the hype surrounding the 20-year-old Spanish point guard, I can tell you this much: I'm not buying the hype.

The general consensus of most NBA scouts seems to be that they believe Rubio will develop into a very good player in time. I'm not trying to say that I know more than NBA scouts, but I do know that scouts are not always right.

Rubio, who first played professional basketball in Spain at the age of 14, is a raw prospect and isn't going to be a Blake Griffin type of impact rookie who will immediately change the culture with his new NBA team.

While Rubio may be known for his slick passing and flamboyant persona, there are still plenty of weaknesses in his game.

For starters, Rubio is not an efficient scorer, or even a scorer at all for that matter. In his 34-game 2010-11 season with F.C. Barcelona, Rubio only averaged 5.3 points per game shooting a disappointing 33.1 percent from the floor on an average of 23 minutes per game.

Rubio also struggled in last summer's FIBA World Championships in Turkey while leading a Spanish national team that was without both NBA players Jose Calderon of the Toronto Raptors and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. With both Calderon and Gasol out of the picture, Rubio had a chance to truly step up and showcase his talents on a global stage.

However, Rubio did quite the opposite, as he only averaged four points per game in an average of 25 minutes of play on an abysmal 28 percent shooting from the floor.

To make matters even worse, Rubio only made two of his 17 three-point attempts during the tournament, and as Rubio struggled, the Spanish national team followed suit by losing in the quarterfinals of the tournament despite being the defending champions.

While Rubio does do some things well, such as his pick-and-roll play, craftiness and his ability to make plays, he still has holes in his game that need to be filled. He was exposed at the 2010 FIBA World Championships, and I believe that he will be exposed almost immediately in the NBA as well.

As I said before, I'm not sold on Rubio at all right now. I understand that he is very young and has more than enough time to develop into a solid NBA player, but as of right now, don't expect Rubio to come into the NBA and dominate.

I won't close the book on Rubio just yet due to the fact that he is so young and so obviously talented, but he's also so obviously raw as a prospect.

If I had to put money on it, I would bet against Rubio becoming a great NBA player one day like so many people seem to believe.

In the words of the always entertaining Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."