Albeit a preseason game, Ricky Rubio shined in his NBA debut for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
The much anticipated debut of the Spanish sensation left Minnesota Timberwolves fans gleaming with hope that the years of missing the playoffs may soon be a thing of the past. And a more prosperous future is on the horizon.
While power forward, and 25 pounds lighter, Kevin Love led the stat sheet with 21 points and 15 rebounds. It was Rubio’s dazzling passes and fabulous execution of the point guard position that was the talk of the Timberwolves’ preseason opener.
Critics of Rubio deemed his game wouldn’t translate to the NBA level. That his flashy passing and inability to shoot effectively would leave him as a career backup, at best.
In the box score, Rubio didn’t definitively put the haters to rest. The 21-year old had six points, six rebounds, seven assists, and just one turnover in 24 minutes of action.
But his poise, effectiveness running the offense, and his general ora around him, in a single preseason game, proved to many that Rubio has what it takes to be a legitimate point guard in today’s NBA.
Fans of the Wolves and the Spaniard are still hoping that the 21-year old will become the superstar he was depicted to be in the days leading up to and after the 2009 NBA draft. But judging yay or nay on stardom after one preseason game is remotely asinine.
What we can take from his debut is that Rubio played a very solid game. He showed an ability to run the offense and run it well from the point guard position; something that was rarely, if ever, seen by point guards Jonny Flynn, Luke Ridnour, and Sebastian Telfair a year ago.
For Wolves fans, that is a drastic leap in the right direction in getting back to the level of playoff contenders.
Because, at the end of the day, Love is the star of this Wolves team. Rubio proved in his debut that he can be that right-hand man that facilitates the Wolves offense, yet also showed that the predictions of superstardom may not be too farfetched.
But lets give the kid some time.
Here are some tweets and excerpts from columns locally and nationally that sum up the performance of Rubio and the Timberwolves as a whole.
ESPN’s Bill Simmons tweeted:
“I was really impressed by Rubio. Can’t shoot but it won’t matter too much, he’ll still have an impact. Fun to play with, always up to stuff.”
Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweeted:
“Accuse me of overreacting to an exhibition, but this was good, smart, offensive basketball tonight, and this team will be able to score.”
1500 ESPN Twin Cities’ Dana Wessel:
“It’s there for the taking for Rubio. He can become a star in the league he dreamed about playing in since he was a kid in Spain taping games on his VCR because his mother wouldn’t let him stay up late to watch them live.”
There will definitely be ups and down in Rubio’s career, that is certain. Saturday night was one of those ups that gives fans of the Timberwolves hope. And after the past years of misery, hope has been as vacant as a legitimate starting point guard.
Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank. He covers all things Minnesota sports. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier
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