Ricky Rubio: 10 Bold Predictions for the Minnesota Timberwolves Rookie Prospect
What was once called the greatest point guard prospect to come out of Europe, Ricky Rubio is an intriguing story as of late due to the recent news of him coming overseas to play NBA basketball.
Most NBA fans first saw the young Spanish guard play in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where Rubio played for Team Spain and took on Team USA.
Combine the Olympics with videos around the web of his flashy and creative passes, Rubio has been exposed to fans for quite some time now and many are anxious to see the 20-year-old play in the best basketball league in the world against the best players in the world.
These are 10 bold predictions for the Minnesota Timberwolves rookie prospect, Ricky Rubio.
Ricky Rubio Will Stay True to His Word and Play for the Timberwolves
Ricky Rubio has been a professional basketball player since the young age of 14 years old. His talent and ability weren't the questions NBA teams had about Rubio prior to the 2009 NBA draft. The question was will he ever come overseas and play for the team that drafted him?
After two years of waiting for Rubio and multiple trips to Spain to discuss his situation, reports say that he has finally agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The official announcement has yet to be made and will likely wait until after the NBA Finals are over.
This is a bold prediction for the reason that it was so doubt by fans around the league and also that there could be a lockout this summer. Even if the season is cut short by a few games, Rubio will play for the Wolves next season.
Rubio Will Take over the No. 1 Spot in Timberwolves Jersey Sales
As of right now, Minnesota's All-Star power forward Kevin Love has the Timberwolves' best-selling jersey. He has certainly been the team's franchise player and his No. 42 jersey can be seen all around the Target Center for home games.
This is before the Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio makes his way to the NBA.
Rubio has been a thrilling talent in Europe and will bring his swagger at point guard to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. With a team that hasn't seen an exceptional point guard since the days of Sam Cassell, fans will be ready to jump on the Rubio bandwagon and purchase his jersey.
Rubio is sure to have fans in Minnesota and different places around the U.S., but he will also have his huge fanbase in Spain and throughout Europe.
"I'm assuming he's going to take over the No. 1 spot," Love said. "I mean, it looks good to have 'Love' on the back of the jersey, but (Rubio) is going to have a lot of flair, and Spanish flavor, and he's going to be fun to watch."
Ricky Rubio Will Average 13 Assists Per Game in His Rookie Season
Skeptics may say whatever they'd like about Ricky Rubio's jump shot or scoring ability, but his passing skills and anticipation will be what make him a superb point guard in the NBA. Not to mention his 6'4" stature allows him to make passes over the heads of the smaller guards in the league.
Rubio's stats in Europe are being looked at too closely by people rather than them understanding what type of league it is. Rubio plays close to 20 minutes a game in a rotation of different players. He's averaging 6.5 points and 3.6 assists with 1.7 steals per game.
These numbers are sure to go up when he arrives to the NBA. He'll receive double the playing time he's getting in Europe and will have better athletes around him on the floor. Thirteen assists per game is an exceptional stat and will be difficult to do, but with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson around him, he should be able to hit that number in most games.
Rubio Will Shoot 85 Percent from the Free-Throw Line
This prediction is almost sure to happen. Ricky Rubio already sinks 84 percent of his free throws this season and has a very simple and repeatable free-throw form.
With the way Rubio drives the lane aggressively, he will end up on the foul line a lot of the time. In Europe, the officials allow more contact before calling a foul whereas the NBA has gotten very strict on the matter. He will most likely be on the foul line five or six times a game.
Free throws can be considered a strength for Rubio and he will knock down 85 percent of them next season.
Ricky Rubio Will Shoot 40 Percent from the Field
Ricky Rubio hasn't been a very good shooter in the past couple of years, but 40 percent will be doable for the Spaniard next season.
Rubio only shot 31 percent from the field this season, which is unacceptable by all standards. Some of that can be accounted for by him not finding his rhythm when in the game due to the constant rotation of players they have in Europe. The other part of his problem is that he doesn't necessarily jump on his jump shot.
Future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd used to have trouble with his jump shot as well, but Kidd put in the work and grasped his coaches' teachings and now has a reliable shot.
Nonetheless, Rubio will work on his shot with the Timberwolves coaching staff and veteran point guard Luke Ridnour, who is a good shooter in his own right, and shoot 40 percent from the field next season.
The Spaniard Will Notch His 1st Triple-Double of His NBA Career
Ricky Rubio has the skill set that will allow him to have a triple-double here and there. He has the passing ability that many salivate over, he is crafty in his scoring and he also has a nose for the ball which makes him a good rebounder for a point guard.
His triple-doubles aren't going to be mind-blowing, but he will have a few during the course of his career. He already has an amazing quadruple-double performance under his belt. In the 2006 U16 European Championships, Rubio recorded a quadruple-double in a game against Croatia with 19 points, 13 assists, 11 steals, and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. In the tourney's final, Rubio had a magnificent game where he recorded 51 points, 24 rebounds, 12 assists, and seven assists against Russia. There will not be other performances like this out of Rubio, but a triple-double isn't out of the question.
Expect his triple-double(s) to be in the range of 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Ricky Rubio Will Have a 20-Plus Assist Game
Ricky Rubio's comparison has been the great Steve Nash on a number of occasions. Nash has had several 20-assist games and if Rubio is like his comparison, he will too have at least one of these great games.
Rubio has the passing skills, anticipation, vision and swagger to have a few of these over the course of his career, but in being bold I will say he produces one of these in his rookie season.
Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson will need to be the players that run the floor with Rubio on fast-break opportunities. These two athletes should account for a good amount of assists for Rubio since he is very good at running the fast break.
On the pick-and-roll, Kevin Love and Anthony Randolph should be receiving a ton of dimes from Rubio and with Randolph, many of them will be exciting alley-oops.
For additional assists, Rubio has the ability to drive the lane aggressively with a pass-first mentality while looking for an open shooter or a big playing close to the rim.
Rubio Will Be Top 5 in the NBA in Steals Per Game
Stealing the basketball is one of Ricky Rubio's greatest assets. He's 6'4" and possesses long arms and quick hands which allow for him to deflect passes or swipe the ball off the opponent's dribble.
He is an absolute nuisance as a defender and showed that in the 2008 Olympics against USA where he stole the basketball three times while playing under 30 minutes. Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook all had difficulty in doing anything against Rubio in that game.
In just close to 20 minutes a game this season, he has averaged 1.7 steals per game. As a starter for the Minnesota Timberwolves, he could be averaging around 2.5 steals per game, which would put him in the top five—if not No. 1—in that category.
Ricky Rubio Will Win the Rookie of the Year Award
With Ricky Rubio averaging 13 assists a game and being in the top five in steals, he will win the Rookie of the Year Award.
The young 20-year-old will have amazed basketball fans around the NBA while being all over sports news programs with his creative passes and flair. Rubio's stats very well may end up around 11 points, 13 assists, three rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. These numbers are certainly good enough to win the ROY Award.
This prediction may sound bold, and it is to an extent, but it's also very possible for it to happen.
Rubio Will Help Push Minnesota into the NBA Playoffs
The talent will be there for the Minnesota Timberwolves to take their game to the next level. As the team with the worst record last season, they can only go up from here.
A starting lineup that includes Ricky Rubio, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Darko Milicic is definitely good enough to contend for a playoff spot in the West. That's not including the player the Wolves acquire from the No. 2 pick via the draft or by trade.
Love and Beasley will get better with the open looks Rubio will set them up with and Johnson should be able to come back from a freshman season full of disappointment.
The mental side of the game needs to be there for the Timberwolves to make the playoffs. The current players will have had one more year of growth and should start showing signs that this team can be dangerous.
Call it the Oklahoma City Thunder all over again; this team could be very special in several years.
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