Ricky Rubio is coming to America.
After spending two years with FC Barcelona, Rubio will join the Minnesota Timberwolves next season. The two sides had went back and forth for quite some time due to Rubio's $5.2 million buyout, but the point guard will make his NBA debut during the 2011-12 season, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported.
Rubio was the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft after impressing teams during the 2008 Olympics and receiving plenty of attention overseas. He has drawn comparisons to legends like Pete Maravich and his NBA debut has been heavily anticipated.
However, at this point in time, Rubio needs the Timberwolves just as badly as the Timberwolves need Rubio. He had a sub-par season with FC Barcelona last year, and there was some talk from within the team that he would have been replaced regardless. He averaged 6.5 points and 3.5 assists in 22.4 minutes per game and didn't exactly perform up to the team's expectations this year.
With that said, Rubio is only 20 years old so he has yet to play his best basketball. He still has enormous amounts of potential, and scouts have always thought that his game would translate better in the NBA than it did overseas.
Minnesota will certainly be happy to have him. President of Basketball Operations David Kahn is fighting to keep his job and if Rubio pans out, he could provide some job security. Rubio is just the latest young player that the Timberwolves have acquired. Minnesota has only two players over the age of 25 – Anthony Tolliver and Luke Ridnour – and Rubio will join a young core that includes Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and the eventual #2 overall pick among others.
However, he'll enter the NBA more experienced than a typical rookie. He has a number of accolades including a Eurochallenge championship in 2006, Eurocup championship in 2008, Defensive Player of the Year award for the Spanish ACB League in 2008-09, FIBA European Young Player of the Year award in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and Euroleague Rising Star award in 2010. He also won a gold medal during the 2009 FIBA European Championship and a silver medal during the 2008 Olympics.
The next moves for Minnesota are deciding what to do with the second overall pick in this year's draft and determining who will be coaching the team when the Rubio experiment begins. The Timberwolves continue to weigh their options surrounding their pick and Kurt Rambis' future is up in the air.
Those answers will come later. For now, the Wolves can look forward to having their potential point guard of the future. Selecting Rubio nearly two years ago was a gamble, and now the first step toward the pick paying off is complete. He'll be donning a Timberwolves jersey in a matter of months and the basketball world will see if he can live up to the hype.
The Ricky Rubio era is finally set to begin in Minnesota.
Sources: Click Here
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