It has been five years since the lanky kid from Spain with his unkempt hair who resembles more like Paul McCartney (with the beard) took a step towards his NBA dream. Ricky Rubio had showed promising talent that could really make a difference in any team. But he was anything that resembles an NBA player and looks more like a teenage skater boy.
Ricky came to Minnesota as a mystery man. Drafted in 2009 and played two more years in Spain before going to the NBA. He arrived with hopes of resurrecting a team that have dwelled in the bottom standings for years. Minnesota waited and have anchored their future on a 180-pound point guard. Ricky did live up to expectations. He would average 11 assists per game and have constantly in almost every highlight reel. But those flashy and behind-the-back passes never really got them to the playoffs. They say there’s a reason why there is no “J” on his name… Ricky simply could not consistently sank jumpers even when he is wide open. This has been his Achilles and has derailed his potential to be the best for years.
He has amazing vision and plays good defense but he just can’t shoot.
With Kevin Love’s departure to Cleveland, Rubio is left with the burden of carrying Minnesota. Kevin Garnett was a reminder to Kevin Love. Garnett wasted years of his prime without even reaching to the NBA finals. With Lebron James going to Cleveland, Love wasted no time in joining him. Now Ricky will have to face the same predicament, the same burden and expectations Love was carrying throughout his career. Minnesota still has a young and able team getting two back to back number one picks from Cleveland for Love (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett) and signing key players to fill up the hole Love vacated. But let’s be realistic, The Wolves can get as much as the eight seed in the playoffs but will never go beyond the first round. Ricky should go beyond the pass-first guard and develop to be a prolific scorer and a scoring threat.
Minnesota hired former Lakers guard Mike Penberthy as Rubio’s shooting coach this season. The Wolves know the urgency in maximizing Ricky’s potential and hiring a shooting coach might be the solution.
24 years old and with still years away before Ricky will hit his prime, the sense of urgency is growing each and every day.
Minnesota slowly developed a good core of young and athletic team, but still needs to find its identity. And the role of the team leader is to impose his strengths, work ethic and quality to the team to mold them to his likeness, like Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns), Jason Kidd (New Jersey Nets) and Chris Paul has done to their respective teams.
The lanky Kid from Barcelona, has grown and accustomed himself into the NBA. The myth has been proven, the mystery has been solved… We all know Ricky Rubio’s talent is real. But will he ever lead his team to a championship? Will he follow Kevin Garnett’s path? Will he be jumping on a bandwagon like Kevin Love? Only Rubio knows… but the clock is ticking…