Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: September 12, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 9:39 am
 

Rick Adelman hired as Wolves coach

By Matt Moore

Update 9:38 a.m. EST: The Timberwolves have officially announced the hire

Update 8:40 a.m. EST:
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has confirmed with multiple sources that Adelman has accepted the offer to become the new head coach of the Timberwolves. Yahoo Sports and ESPN both independently are discussing the deal as done

Original Report: Kevin Love is known to have pretty loose lips. He's an honest cat and tends to release info on his Twitter account. After reports this weekend that Rick Adelman has an agreement to join the Minnesota Timberwolves as their new head coach, Love tweeted Monday:
Houston, we have a coach.
via Twitter / @kevinlove: Houston, we have a coach. ....

Now, that could mean a lot of things, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune indicates that there's no sense arguing over the tea leaves. It's reporting Adelman has in fact agreed to become the head coach of the Wolves according to one source, but is stopping shy of calling it official. The Star's Jerry Zgoda does report that if it's true, it could have huge ramifications for the Wolves. Particularly, Love discussed what it could mean for his future in the Twin Cities:
Yes, if it's true Love said Adelman’s presence would “absolutely” play a factor in whether he signs a contract extension with the team.

“When I talked about the prospect of me re-signing, I always said one of the things we’d have to have is a great coach,” he said. “If it’s true, we’ve got a great coach.”
via On the Wolves | StarTribune.com.

Love goes on to say he can see himself being used perfectly in Adelman's system, as a facillitator from the high-post. We're right there with him.

While Ricky Rubio will benefit from a system that both pushes him in transition and allows him to focus on scoring at the bucket, no player may benefit more than Love, who enjoys a personal relationship with Adelman. (Love played with Adelman's son Patrick in high school and has known him since junior high.) Adelman won't seek to bury him as previous coaches have, will use him in the right contexts, from that catapult outlet pass to his three-point range and will help him develop his inside scoring. Most importantly, he can improve his individual defense. 

If the report is accurate, defense will be a concern for the Wolves. They were a young team last year, so naturally bad defensively, and on top of that, they were bad defensively even for such a young team. Love has said before they need discipline. The Rockets under Adelman came unglued defensively last year, and that was their biggest challenge towards making the playoffs. 

But overall it's a brilliant hire and something for Wolves fans to be extremely excited about, should the reports and Love's own beliefs turn out on point.

Lost in all the talk of Rubio and Love will be this. Derrick Williams, a combo-forward at 6-8, 241 lbs. will be coached by the man who got the most out of Chris Webber,  a combo-forward at 6-9, 245 lbs. Using Williams in similar ways and developing him in the same mold could have huge results for the youngster. It'll be interesting to see immediately what Adelman elects to do with the trainwreck of a roster behind the starting lineup, with Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph both behind Wililams, and the rest of the confusing moves made by Kahn.

Speaking of Kahn, this is both a good and bad thing. It his best move to date, sliding just above his move to trade Mike Miller in 2009 for the Wizards draft pick (note, this is for the move to acquire the pick, not his decision to draft two point guards back to back). If Adelman can have the kind of success he's had throughout his career, it could very well save Kahn's job. On the other hand, Adelman almost assuredly took the new gig under the condition of having input on the roster and personnel decisions.  It puts someone who could easily take over the GM role should Kahn become unhinged from the Timberwolves coil. But if it works out, this could prove to be the accidental Summer of Kahn. 

 We'll keep you updated on whether the reports turn out to be confirmed.
Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:17 am
 

Report: Adelman, Wolves close to deal

Posted by Royce Young

He may be looking for $25 million guaranteed, but no bother for the Timberwolves: Rick Adelman is looking to be their man.

According to HoopsWorld, Adelman and the Wolves are close to a deal and is "expected to reach a contract agreement with the Timberwolves next week."

Two things first off: 1) This, if true, would be an absolutely ideal hire for the Wolves. Perfect fit, perfect coach for the young, talented roster and someone that may actually be able to install a system that maximizes and utilizies all the scattered, random ability on the team. Adelman may be pricey and he may be asking for a whole lot from ownership, but he's the kind of experienced, qualified, offensive-minded coach the team needs.

2) Is this a good sign for the season? Hard not to wonder. Adelman seemingly retired after an odd split with the Rockets and thw Wolves probably wouldn't be interested in committing this much to him if they weren't certain they were going to get to use him. Because regardless of the lockout, the team is going to be paying Adelman whatever his contract is for. And that's going to be a whole lot of dollars to waste if nothing. Then again, would anyone put that past the Wolves?

Again, hesitate a bit to go ahead and call this a done deal. It's just a report with an expectation to have a contract finalized next week.

But at the same time, the Wolves and Adelman have had a serious flirtation thing going on for a few months and it's not all too shocking if Minnesota finally wooed him enough to reel him in.

And really, with a roster as interesting as the Wolves with Kevin Love, Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio, Adelman and his offensive mind might've just not been able to say no. I can tell you, if this is true and Adelman really is taking over the Wolves, that team just became an instant League Pass favorite. They were already pretty interesting, but now they just got really interesting. Might not win anymore than they have in the past, but it'll be interesting at least.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Report: Adelman wants $25 million from Wolves

Posted by Royce Young

The Timberwolves have made it pretty clear that they want Rick Adelman to be their next head coach. The question is: How badly do they want him? Because if they really, really want him, they're going to have to prove it.

According to the Star Tribube, Adelman is looking to get $5 million a year from the Wolves for five years. That, boys and girls, is a grand total of $25 million. For perspective, there isn't a single player on the Wolves roster signed for that long for that much. Not Ricky Rubio, not Kevin Love, not Derrick Williams.

The report says that Flip Saunders was paid somewhere in the $5 million a year range in his last few seasons with the Wolves, so a precedent has been set. But $25 million is quite the committment for a coach. Unless Red Auerbach is back from the dead or Phil Jackson's done smoking peyote, I'm not sure anyone's really worth that much.

So what's the backup plan if Adelman doesn't pan out? The report says Don Nelson -- yes, Don Nelson -- is the secondary option behind Adelman. And his deal would be something like three years for $10 million. It also says not to entirely rule out Sam Mitchell as a candidate either. Glen Taylor and David Kahn are looking to hire someone with experience so those three fit the bill.
Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Realigning the NBA

Posted by Royce Young



Conference realignment has sort of taken over the world the past few weeks. Texas A&M pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Big 12 by bolting for the SEC and because of it, a whole new chain of events have tipped over. The landscape of college football could look a whole lot different in a few months. Or in a few weeks. Or even tomorrow.

But you know what else could use a little realigning? The NBA's divisions. They're kind of a mess. It's not going to be as a result of some $300 million network, recruiting ties or competitive advantages. Nope. For the NBA, it's more just about common sense. Geographically, the divisions are kind of a mess. In 2011 that's not as huge a deal as it was in 1981 because travel is much easier. You can go from Portland to Oklahoma City in just a few hours.

However, chartered travel is experience. Fuel is very pricey. And with the NBA and teams supposedly losing so much money, why not exhaust every option to cut costs and realign the divisions so they make a lot more sense? Why not group teams together that are hundreds, not thousands, of miles apart?

Plus, it just makes a lot more sense to have structured regions. Grouping teams together based on geography does more to forge rivalries, gives fans a chance to commute between games if the want to and gives the players less travel and more days of rest. All good, right?

So if you're going to spend all this time restructuring a new collective bargaining agreement, why not fix the divisions too? Here's how they should look:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST
Dallas
San Antonio
Houston
Phoenix
Oklahoma City

The NBA's new Southwest division is the American League East, the SEC West, of the league. It's a group of five teams that are all pretty good. Things change though and in 15 years, this could be the weakest division in the league. But for now, it'd be pretty good.

And it just makes sense. Dallas and Oklahoma City are about three hours via car away from each other. San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are in the same state. And OKC and the Texas teams and Phoenix just have one state separating them, which is a whole lot better than five.

MIDWEST
Memphis
Minnesota
Denver
Utah
Milwaukee

Clearly the division that needed the biggest overhaul is the Northwest, mainly because of the Sonics transformation into the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the team was in Seattle, the division made a lot more sense. Now it doesn't. That's why a midwestern division with makes a lot more sense.

That creates somewhat of a problem in the Northwest though. There's not a great fit. So for the sake of the argument, the Northwest has to make the Big 12 and peace out. No more Northwest, but instead the new Midwest.

The new Midwest is still a bit spread out, but all the teams are at least located somewhat centrally in the country. A trip from Utah to Milwaukee won't be quick, but the Jazz, Nuggets and Timerwolves have been oddballs in the Northwest. It's not an ideal division with teams right next door to each other, but it makes a lot more sense than the current setup.

PACIFIC
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento
Golden State
Portland

Moving Phoenix away from the Lakers is a bummer, because those two teams are historical rivals that have always competed in the same division. But if A&M and Texas can separate, I think we can live with the Suns and Lakers moving apart.

The Pacific now features five teams that are actually next to the Pacific Ocean, which seems like it should count for something. Plus having the Blazers and Lakers together makes up for separating the Suns and Lakers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL
Chicago
Detroit
Indiana
Cleveland
Toronto

Really, the new Central was the inspiration for this. Why aren't the Raptors in this division? Look at how close those teams are to each other. I think you could almost ride your bike between arenas. The old Central was really good too -- maybe better -- but the Bucks have to move. So it's the Raptors who replace them and the solid geographic setup remains.

ATLANTIC
Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington
New Jersey

Nothing too radical here. Five cities that you can transport between using a train. Old rivalries are preserved and the Wizards are added, which frankly, makes a lot of sense.

SOUTHEAST
Miami
Orlando
Atlanta
Charlotte
New Orleans

Two teams would swap conferences with the Bucks moving back to the West and the Hornets heading to the East. Not that this would upset the competitive balance of the league or anything, but it just makes a lot more sense for the Hornets to be placed in a division with Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta and Miami.

And let me add this: If college football has no issue tossing tradition and historical rivalries out the window, why not just eliminate conferences all together? It would be a radical move, but what's the point of the East and West, other than just that's the structure of the playoffs? If it were one unified "super" conference, that would finally solve the issues of a 50-win Western team missing the postseason while a 37-win Eastern team slips into the eight-seed.

You could even just build the league into three 10-team divisions. Combine the Southwest and the Pacific, the Midwest and the Central, and the Atlantic and the Southeast. There are your super-divisions. Now you can keep teams playing more in their division than anything else and cut down on long road trips. It would make a West coast road trip for the Mavericks a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

Basically, we'd be looking at a league with three sub-conferences and once the playoffs started, seeding would just be based from that. Almost like the NCAA tournament, you could set two regions and seed from there. Head-to-head tiebreakers, division records and all that stuff would separate any identical records. Just an idea while we're brainstorming, you know?

(Note: I don't really love that idea, quite honestly. But I was just throwing it out there. One of those things that probably makes sense, but wouldn't ever happen. Much like Bill Simmons' terrific "Entertaining As Hell Tournament." Really, a unified conference makes it easier to implicate the tournament too.)

Let's face it: The West has kind of sort of dominated the past decade. Sports operate in cycles, but if there's a way to prevent that, should we? The West compiled a record of 2,257-1,643 against the East from 1999-2008 and over the last 13 seasons has represented 10 champions. That's pretty dominant. That'll change eventually, but what really is the point of the conferences, other than the standard, "that's just the way it's always been done" answer? 

All that is after the fact though: Divisional realignment is the start. Fixing the structure of the postseason would be the ideal next step. It's kind of like a plus-one for college football. Maybe a pipe dream, but something that's really in the best interest of the game. But if anything's to be done, it's to realign the divisions so they at least make a little more sense. Preserve rivalires, start new ones, save money, cut down on travel and hopefully, help the league grow a little bit more.

Picture via Jockpost
Posted on: September 3, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 3:50 pm
 

NBA's five most risky overseas signings

Posted by Ben Golliverderon-williams

University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly recently was asked whether he felt it was a risky move to schedule his team's opener against perennial power LSU rather than a directional school doormat.

"There's risk waking up and getting out of bed in the morning," Kelly replied. "It's all about how you look at life."

Kelly's defense of his aggressive schedule-making shouldn't be read as reckless. Certainly, there's risk in getting out of bed in the morning and there's risk in standing in front of a locomotive. Those risks clearly aren't equivalent and, in turn, the decision-making behind each shouldn't be viewed in the same light. Kelly, one of college football's most notorious gamblers, might view an early season test as a net-positive for his team, even if it results in a loss, but he surely wouldn't schedule a full 12-game slate of top competition if he intended on cashing in on the incentives in his contract and winning a national title. An early, tough test can be great preparation and won't sink a season; a four-month long gauntlet of tough tests would be foolish and, ultimately, suicidal. 

As self-protecting creatures, humans are remarkably good at assessing risk on the fly. We know danger when we see it, we can process the presence of warning signs in advance, we can coach ourselves to be patient and, if all else fails, our "flight" instincts kick in and we run the other way as fast as possible. 

We've learned this summer that professional basketball players possess those very same skills. Indeed, in more than two months since the NBA lockout went into effect, RidiculousUpside.com has tracked more than 50 NBA players, free agents and draft picks who have agreed to play overseas should there be a work stoppage or cancellation of the 2011-12 NBA season. Yet when you survey the list of names, you realize that it's a carefully self-selected group.

That self-selection process boils down to risk-assessment. The guys on the list, by and large, fit a number of key criteria. They don't have a lot of guaranteed money remaining on their NBA contracts, assuming they have league contracts in place. The majority do not have a major role in their team's rotation. Almost all are young and have not reached the prime of their careers. Just about everyone is in good health too. 

This is no accident. The three biggest risks for a professional basketball player involved in a move overseas are: 1) a catastrophic injury that causes the loss of guaranteed money already owed 2) an injury of any magnitude that prevents or limits future earnings 3) the loss of NBA opportunities by virtue of being "off the map." The type of players most subject to these risks -- stars, veterans in their prime, fringe veterans with injury histories, up-and-coming players with the potential to be stars, first round draft picks in 2011 waiting on guaranteed rookie deals -- by and large have opted to wait out the lockout. They've spied the railroad tracks, heard a whistle out in the distance and opted to stand clear. It's a bit of a bummer for the viewing public who would prefer to watch these guys perform, but if your brother or son made the same decision, you wouldn't just approve, you would be proud of his common sense.

Not everyone has been completely careful, though. It's fair to say that no NBA player has yet made a reckless decision with their career, but there are a few who have more at stake and are risking more in agreeing to play overseas. Here's a look at the top five riskiest overseas signings of the summer so far.

5. Nicolas Batum, F Portland Trail Blazers

There aren't many budding stars among the group that has committed to play overseas next season, and some would dispute whether Batum, 22, has star potential. With that said, he started on a playoff team at age 20, has established a reputation as an above-average defender, has developed his offensive game each year in the pros (despite a relatively cold shooting year from outside in 2010-11) and is viewed as a core building block piece. He complements the team's franchise player, forward LaMarcus Aldridge, nicely and has an upbeat attitude that is endearing to fans and a solid work ethic that appeals to coach Nate McMillan.

The risk in the move overseas for Batum isn't his current contract, as he's still tied into a rookie deal through next season. Instead it's all about the threat of injury, as Batum missed more than half of his second season in the NBA with a shoulder injury that required surgery. Batum is clearly thinking with his heart as much as his head in signing with SLUC Nancy of France; he wants a chance to play in front of his home country's fans and is a gym rat who has played year-round for years, thanks to his participation with Team France. Batum plays a hard, two-way, high-flying game and isn't afraid to lay his body out. The Blazers figure to offer Batum a long-term, big-dollar extension in the future. Risking that by playing overseas this year isn't an insane proposition. 

4. Ty Lawson, G, Denver Nuggets

Lawson, like Batum, is still locked into a rookie deal that pays him below what he would be worth on the open market. Even though he's only played two years in the NBA, Lawson has done well to establish a very high earnings potential. An excellent outside shooter and one of the league's fastest players, Lawson transitioned into a starting role last season and watched as Denver traded his competition for the job -- Raymond Felton -- to Portland for veteran Andre Miller, who probably makes more sense as a backup at this point in his career. In other words, Lawson was handed the keys to the Nuggets' car at an early age and, given how many players they are likely to lose in free agency, he should have all the touches and shots he wants to start building a track record that will mean a big payday down the road.

Foot and ankle injuries have limited Lawson during his UNC days and as a Nugget, but he's coming off a season in which he appeared in all but two games. The risk here is simply future earning potential. It's possible that his time with Zalgiris in Lithuania will help him improve -- or at least maintain -- his skills. But the uncertainty in adjusting to a new country, team, style of play and everything else looms over a young man already tasked with helping rebuild an NBA team in transition.  

3. Nikola Pekovic, F, Minnesota Timberwolves

Would you believe that Pekovic in second only to Deron Williams on the list of players who have the most guaranteed money coming to them on NBA deals who have committed to playing overseas? It's amazing what a terrible David Kahn contract is capable of! Pekovic, a plodding 25 year old big man who played just 13.6 minutes per game in his rookie season, has $4.5 million coming to him in 2011-12 and another $4.9 million coming to him in 2012-2013. When you look at those numbers compared to his production, your first thought is, "Don't blow it by getting injured! You'll never sucker another GM into giving you those numbers!"

Pekovic's risk is mitigated here because he's familiar with the overseas game, having played professionally there since 2003. He's set to return to one of his old clubs -- Partizan Belgrade in Serbia -- next season. Those familiar surroundings plus the ground-bound, tough-guy nature of his game limit his exposure. Plus, the worst case scenario is that Minnesota is able to void his contract. Given that assistant GM Tony Ronzone simply walked off the job this week, maybe that's not so bad after all.

2. Wilson Chandler, F, Denver Nuggets


Maybe the most curious move of the summer was Chandler's decision to sign a one-year deal in China, a contract that prevents him from returning to the NBA in the event that the labor situation is resolved. In other words, Chandler has already sacrificed the difference in money between the $3.1 million he would have made next season with the Nuggets and the reported roughly $2 million that he will make with Zhejiang Guangsha. 

That's not the only money that was at stake for Chandler, though. Chandler was set to become a restricted free agent in a weak crop, meaning there would have been some fairly good-sized dollars available to him. Denver, of course, would have been highly motivated to match any offers given their newfound weakness at wing following the team's trade of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. One way or another, he was getting paid and the amount would have been significantly higher than what he's receiving in China. The only potential reason for taking the Chinese money and running is if Chandler simply doesn't want to play in Denver long-term. The most likely result for most coveted restricted free agents is they sign multi-year deals with their current team. If Chandler didn't like his new, post-Knicks digs, the move makes a little bit more sense, as he can potentially return to the NBA waters down the road as an unrestricted free agent. But will an NBA absence affect his perceived value?  

1. Deron Williams, G, New Jersey Nets 

This one shouldn't come as a surprise. Williams bucked convention by becoming the only current NBA All-Star to agree to play overseas, signing a much-ballyhooed deal with Besiktas of Turkey. Name a risk and it applies to Williams. He has $16.4 million coming to him in 2011-2012 and could pick up a player option for $17.8 million more if he wants, or he could enter free agency next summer and be a no-brainer candidate for a max contract. He has a lingering wrist injury that required surgery and is reportedly still giving him problems. He's 27 years old and primed to enter his peak NBA years. Put all of that together and Williams has -- by far -- the most to lose of anyone on this list. Sure, he's already made more than $43 million in career earnings, but he's got far more than that coming to him over the next 5-7 years.

Even considering all of those negative warning signs, his decision is defensible. The Nets mortgaged their entire franchise to trade for him and they could not be more motivated to retain him. At some point, it's more than likely they will literally beg him to sign a max extension. They have no choice; the rest of the roster has proven it's not competitive and the team is not a desireable free agent destination, at least until the move to Brooklyn is completed. In other words, Williams has New Jersey over a barrel and he knows it. He's in a position where he can cash checks from Besitkas while staying in shape and pull the "injured wrist" card and come back to the United States if he isn't comfortable with the team, the country or his accomodations overseas.

When you look at it like that, even the riskiest overseas signing starts to seem like a bit of a no-brainer.

Posted on: September 2, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Timberwolves lose assistant GM Tony Ronzone

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-kahn

The surest sign of dysfunction in the NBA is employee turnover.

The model, successful franchises realize that the relationship between basketball operations staff, coaching staff and players is a delicate chemistry, and they seek to find the right pieces and understand that those relationships need plenty of time to germinate together. The league's weaker sisters, on the other hand, can chew through executives, coaches and players at an astonishing rate, out of impatience, frustration, dissatisfaction or any number of other negative reasons.

So it should come as no surprise that the Minnesota Timberwolves -- winners of just 32 games combined over the last two seasons, still without a head coach after months, and still led by bumbling president David Kahn -- are parting ways with a key basketball operations executive less than 18 months after bringing him aboard.

StarTribune.com reports that Minnesota and assistant GM Tony Ronzone are heading down opposite forks in the road.
Timberwolves assistant general manager Tony Ronzone has left the organization. Known for his international-scouting connections, he was hired in spring 2010 just about the time Fred Hoiberg was headed for Iowa State's head-coaching job and had a voice in personnel moves that included drafting Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams as well as trading away Al Jefferson, acquiring Michael Beasley and re-signing center Darko Milicic.

The Wolves, through a spokesman, said they and Ronzone mutually have agreed to part ways and wished him good luck.

It's been a messy summer for the Timberwolves basketball operations staff. Kahn insinuated the NBA Draft Lottery was rigged and then back-tracked. The organization burned two draft picks for nothing when they traded an injured Jonny Flynn to the Houston Rockets and drafted a 26-year-old player who was technically ineligible to be selected. On top of that, Kahn bungled the firing of former head coach Kurt Rambis badly and has yet to select a replacement, making the Timberwolves the only team in the league without a head coach. Kahn also violated the NBA's gag order on discussing players during the lockout by referring to multiple members of his team during a press conference, a move that reportedly drew a fine from the league office.

We don't know why, specifically, Ronzone decided to bounce out of town, but no one would blame him if he simply said, "enough is enough."

Regardless of Ronzone's motivations or the circumstances surrounding his depature, executive turnover can be as damaging as roster turnover to a basketball team's on-court success. GM's and presidents have varying philosophies and look to target coaches and players who will carry out those ideas. Locating new executives resets that whole process, and the organization finds itself spinning its wheels in the meantime.

If there's a bright spot here it's that the lockout currently has no end in sight, so Kahn need not rush to fill these vacancies. But it takes a good organization to attract and retain good people, a fact that doesn't bode well for the Timberwolves. 
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Report: Beasley didn't break his wrist in China

Posted by Royce Young

Relax, world. Michael Beasley didn't break his wrist in China. Reportedly.

According to ESPN.com, the report that Beasley may have broke his wrist in China are not accurate. He did however have a doctor examine his in Los Angeles Wednesday as a precaution.

The alleged injury took place in an exhibition game in which Paul Pierce and Beasley were playing in China. Beasley supposedly hurt his wrist, kept playing anyway and then woke up the next morning with a lot of pain and a dcotor there felt it was likely broken. Evidently something got lost in translation.

Also: Beasley and Paul Pierce didn't have asthma attacks either. Or at least that's what Pierce tweeted. I don't even know what to believe anymore.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:57 am
 

Rubio tosses out a clunker in Spain's day one win

Posted by Royce Young



Get excited Timberwolves fans, floppy-haired savior Ricky Rubio is playing basketball for Spain in EuroBasket and you can watch him.

Though I'm not sure you'll want to.

In Spain's first game, a surprisingly close 83-78 win over Poland (Pau Gasol led the way with 29 points), Rubio played 16 minutes. Except looking at his line following the "16," you might not think he did. He darn near put up a 16 trillion if only he hadn't recorded two steals.

Rubio's official line: zero points, zero assists, zero rebounds, 0-5 from the field and two turnovers.

Not to rag too much on Rubio because he's still just 20 and is playing behind Jose Calderon (sort of) and with Pau and Mark Gasol handling almost everything, all he has to do is kind of just stay out of the way.

But still. For a guy viewed as sort of an answer to Minnesota's problems, it wasn't a strong showing. Especially disappointing too because a lot of people are probably paying attention to EuroBasket just for the fact Rubio is playing. He's sort of been a mystery since the Wolves drafted him with the fifth pick in 2009 and despite a couple international games last year in the World Championships, we haven't seen him much with or against NBA players.

And in his first game, donuts across the board.

Maybe it was nerves or something. He missed a wide open layup late in the game and didn't factor in much at all anywhere else during it. By no means is this one EuroBasket game against Poland an indictment on his pending NBA career, but it is another mark that people will notice. Those marks have been piling up on Rubio over the past few years once his hype reached its crescendo during the 2008 Olympic Games. Since then, his critics have been plenty and his performance spotty.

He's young though and it's one game. But as EuroBasket rolls on, Rubio's going to consistently draw attention. And if he keeps putting up empty box scores, it won't be the good kind.
 
 
 
 
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