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Ricky Rubio Brings Spice, Playmaking and Hope to the Minnesota Timberwolves

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  NBA Commissioner David Stern poses for a photograph with the fifth overall draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves,  Ricky Rubio during the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Zander BaylisContributor IJuly 5, 2011

Ricky Rubio has arrived to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Kevin Love now has a teammate to throw that ridiculous cross-court chest-pass to. That isn’t all he will be to Kevin Love and the T-Wolves as he provides playmaking and passing ability that has not been seen on this team over that past few years.

In the triangle offense, passing is key. So, why did Rubio finally decide to take his talents to the cold, dreary mountains of Minnesota? Well, the buyout with his European team is drastically smaller this year at $1.4 million than it was the year he was drafted when it amounted to $6 million.

Scouts have also said that Rubio appeared to have stalled in his development in Europe, so perhaps this move to the NBA was also because of Rubio’s desire for a new challenge. T-Wolves GM David Kahn and their head coach, Kurt Rambis, better hope that Rubio has this desire the get better because Kevin Love and fans are losing faith in the team fast.  

Rubio has received high praise from his NBA counterparts as he has been frequently showcased on the global stage while playing on his Spanish National Team in events such as the Olympics and the FIBA World Championships. Kevin Love tweeted after it was reported that Rubio was signed by the T-Wolves: “Just thinking about pick and rolls...goodnight… Pick....N....Rolls.”

I would be happy too if I were on a perennial bottom feeder team and I found out that one of the best international prospects was going to join my team next season. He just has a lot of potential on this team. They already have scorers in Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Kevin Love. The only other thing that the T-Wolves needed on offense is a point guard to distribute the ball to their young scorers.

The two biggest needs for the T-Wolves going into the offseason were a starting point guard and a defensive big-man. Rubio may not start right away, though I think he will get a fighter’s chance at the job, I do think that by mid-season he will be the starter especially if they are mired at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

With a true point-guard that has a high basketball IQ like Rubio, the other high-ceiling players on the T-Wolves will have a better chance at reaching their potential now that they will have a guy that can take care of the basketball and get the ball to them in the spots that they are most effective.

Of course, I am overrating Rubio a cinch since he is European and I have not seen him play in a full game, but I haven’t forgotten that he was regarded as the best passer in the draft that involved point guards: Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, and Ty Lawson. He was also ranked by Chad Ford as the second overall prospect behind Blake Griffin in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Rubio acts as another first-round pick for the T-Wolves this year, which gives Kahn a whole lot more options when it comes to what he will do with the second overall pick in the draft this year. The Timberwolves may now be in a position similar to that of the Thunder/Supersonics a few years ago when they had accumulated a roster full of athletes with low cap-figures and high ceilings (potential).

Rubio has made a huge impact on the T-Wolves without even stepping foot in America, let alone Minnesota. Kevin Love, the T-Wolves organization, and the fans now have hope for progression and hopefully a playoff berth. Who knows, maybe Rubio will perform well enough with Love to convince him that Minnesota is the place he wants to be as contract negotiations are imminent in the coming months and Love will be forced to make a decision before the trade deadline. I’m just excited to see the Timberwolves on offense next year. It should be fun with Rubio running the show. Ruuuuuubioooooo!!!

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