Ricky Rubio finally agrees to play for T-Wolves

Vlado Ilievski of Union Olimpija challenges Ricky Rubio (R) of Regal Barcelona during their men’s Euroleague basketball group B game in Ljubljana January 27, 2011. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic (SLOVENIA – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

It has been a long time coming, but Spanish guard Ricky Rubio has reportedly agreed to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2011.

Apparently, the uncertainty of the NBA labor situation prompted Rubio to lock in his guaranteed salary under the current rookie wage scale instead of waiting to see what kind of concessions the owners were able to get from the players under a new CBA.

I’m sure that GM David Kahn feels some vindication, but he should wait until Rubio pans out as a good NBA point guard before he starts patting himself on the back. Let’s not forget that he passed on Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings to draft Rubio and Jonny Flynn.

Rubio’s prospects aren’t as bright as they were two years ago. He’s been dealing with a foot injury and has been coming off the bench for Regal Barcelona.

Kevin Love responded to the news with some disbelief, but then started thinking about running pick and rolls with Rubio.

It will be interesting to see how this affects the T-Wolves’ draft. They have the #2 overall pick and the top point guard in the draft, Kyrie Irving, may be available if the Cavs decide to take forward Derrick Williams of Arizona.

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David Kahn’s reaction to the NBA Draft Lottery [video]

The Minnesota GM took some heat for his comments after the lottery, but it’s clear from the video (starting at about the 2:10 mark) that he was joking. Maybe it was an inappropriate joke, but it was a joke nonetheless.

He’s also asked about Ricky Rubio and whether or not he’s going to draft for need or take the best player. So sit back, relax, and spend three minutes in the presence of brilliance.

David Kahn is at it again

The Minnesota Timberwolves had the worst record in the NBA and the best chance to win the #1 overall pick, but ended up with the #2 pick when the Cavs leapfrogged from #8 to #1. GM David Kahn didn’t take the news gracefully. (Brian Mahoney, AP)

Wolves general manager David Kahn said he knew Minnesota was “dead” when it got down to the final three of himself, Utah executive Kevin O’Connor and Nick Gilbert.

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” Kahn said. “Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.”

I bolded the interesting bit. Kahn went out of his way to point out that he was just saying “habit,” but by doing so it sure seemed he was implying that the lottery may have been fixed without going so far as actually saying it.

Then again, he might have been joking about the fact that he “knew” he was in trouble when there was a 14-year-old kid representing a team in the final three, but with his track record, he should know what to say and what not to say.

Revisiting the point guards of the 2009 NBA Draft

Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague (R) drives to the net on Chicago Bulls’ Omer Asik during Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference second round playoff basketball game in Chicago, May 10, 2011. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Jeff Teague’s series performance (17-4-3, 56% shooting) against the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semis got me thinking about all the promising point guards that came out of the 2009 Draft. Take a look:

5. Ricky Rubio, T-Wolves
6. Jonny Flynn, T-Wolves
7. Stephen Curry, Warriors
10. Brandon Jennings, Bucks
17. Jrue Holiday, 76ers
18. Ty Lawson, T-Wolves (traded to Nuggets)
19. Jeff Teague, Hawks
20. Eric Maynor, Jazz (traded to Thunder)
21. Darren Collison, Hornets (traded to Pacers)
25. Rodrigue Beaubois, Thunder (traded to Mavericks)
29. Toney Douglas, Knicks

It’s pretty amazing that with the emergence of Teague in Atlanta, no fewer than six players on that list have developed into starting caliber point guards in the NBA. Four others (Douglas, Beaubois, Maynor and Flynn) are rotation players.

Here are the 2010-11 stats for each player, sorted by Efficiency Per Minute, which is I believe the best way to quickly compare a player’s production.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kevin Love breaks record with 51st double-double

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love backs into New York Knicks forward Ronny Turiaf during their NBA preseason game in Paris on October 6, 2010. The Timberwolves won the contest, part of the annual NBA Europe Live tour, by the score of 106-100. UPI/David Silpa

Rotoworld has the details…

Kevin Love, who suffered a shoulder injury on Wednesday, had 18 points, 18 rebounds and zero 3-pointers for his 42nd straight double-double, and 51st before the All-Star break, setting an NBA record.

George Mikan had 50 double-doubles before the break in 1950, but Love snapped that record tonight.

For those of you who have pretty much ignored the T-Wolves this year, Love is having an outstanding season, averaging 21.1 points and 15.5 rebounds, and is shooting 43% from long range. He was named to the All-Star Game as an alternate.

The T-Wolves have their sidekick. Now they need to find a perimeter superstar who can shoot the lights out and/or create his own shot. They had two picks in the top 6 back in 2009, but passed on Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and DeMar DeRozan (who is averaging 16.4 ppg for the Raptors), and instead came out of the draft with Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. Curry looks like a star, while Jennings and DeRozan have shown flashes of that kind of potential.

Now it appears that the T-Wolves may trade a first-round pick for Anthony Randolph, who can’t get off the bench for the Knicks. A mid to late first-rounder would be fair, but if the T-Wolves end up trading away their first-rounder (which project to be in the upper lottery) it will be a steep price to pay for a guy who hasn’t made much progress in neither Golden State nor New York. Don’t forget, they owe a first-rounder to the Clippers to finish the dreadful Marko Jaric trade. That pick is top 10 protected in 2011 but is unprotected starting in 2012.

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