Sports Illustrated runs a cool series called, “Enemy Lines” where they have opposing scouts anonymously assess each NBA team. In the Timberwolves edition, there was a remark about Ricky Rubio that stood out:
The difference between having Ricky Rubio [who is expected to miss the first two months of the season while recovering from knee surgery] and not having him is huge. Everybody likes Rubio and still I think he’s underrated — he’s that good. I honestly think he’ll be better than Steve Nash.
Obviously, he needs to improve his shooting and some other things, but, man, he can dominate a game and get easy baskets in a way that very few people can. Just dribbling down the floor, if his man is sealed, he makes eye contact with his guy — and if Rubio has any advantage, any angle, he’s able to find the guy and it’s two points. He makes his teammates so much better. You could see it last year, when they were on their way to making the playoffs before he got hurt. If Rubio becomes a good shooter like Nash did, you can forget about it.
Defensively, he’s better than Nash. Even though he gets a lot of steals, it isn’t because he’s gambling. It’s because he’s able to use his length and size and great feet while he’s playing solid defense.
Rubio is one of the few players I would pay to watch play. If he’s able to stay healthy and his shooting improves, [Timberwolves president] David Kahn is going to look like a genius for waiting the two years for him to come over from Europe. We’ve all seen a lot of international guys who were overrated in the draft, but this guy is for real, and in a couple of years they could have a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs because of him and Kevin Love.
Rick Adelman is the right coach for this team and for Rubio in particular. Rick lets his players play and he gives them confidence. He gets them to do it his way and it’s very successful. Maybe Rubio wouldn’t have been as good right away if he’d been in a more structured offense.
In case you forgot, Steve Nash won two MVP’s. Better than Steve Nash? I hope he’s right. He’s got a million miles to go on that jumper though, and that’s after he recovers from knee surgery. Read the entire piece here. Good stuff in there on Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko, Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy, Nikola Pekovic, and Derrick Williams.