Why Ricky Rubio Gives Me Hope


I've never written a FanPost on CanisHoopus before, but I've been a long-time lurker. Below is an article I wrote for my new blog about the T-Wolves. I figured I'd cross-post it here. Enjoy! And I'm happy to take constructive criticism... I'm still new to blogging.

I was 5 years old when I decided to become a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

I’m from Illinois, so naturally my parents were Bulls fans. This was the 1992-93 season when the Bulls would go on to earn their third consecutive championship. My parents raised me to believe that the Bulls were infallible — that as long as Michael Jordan was on their team, they were not capable of losing. I really believed that. So my natural reaction was, okay, if the Bulls always win, why did they need me to root for them?

I remember thumbing through the newspaper with my dad to find the NBA standings, looking for a team that needed a fan. For whatever reason, I picked the Timberwolves, a team that finished the season 19-63.

Maybe it was the colors. Maybe it was the location. Whatever it was, I made a decision and I stuck with it.

And it’s been a looooooong eighteen years. Some snippets…

I enjoyed basketball sentience for the first time just as the Marbury/Gugliotta/Garnett threesome started making noise in the playoffs. The potential of that team was tantalizing.

I hated Marbury when he forced his way out of Minnesota. This wouldn’t be the first time Minnesota was rejected for greener pastures.

I watched as Kevin Garnett went from “Da Kid” to the MVP. It was a joy to watch one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game.

I was shocked when Malik Sealy died. I felt for KG as he dealt with the loss of a close friend.

I struggled with the first round exits every spring, wondering if KG would ever get a chance at a championship.

I cheered every second of that magical 2003-04 season as we began to taste the possibility of a championship. I still maintain we would have won it all had Sam Cassell’s back not given out.

I never understood what happened the season afterwards. I couldn’t relate to Latrell Sprewell’s assertion that $14.6 million wasn’t enough to “feed his children.”

I hoped for Garnett to be traded to a contender so he could fulfill a lifelong dream.

I cried when KG won the championship as a Celtic, even though it wasn’t the same.

I began to think about the NBA Draft every season around January.

I ridiculed the O.J. Mayo/Love trade, thinking it was the worst trade in Timberwolves history.

I ate crow this season as Kevin Love celebrated his first all-star berth.

I rejoiced when David Stern announced the Timberwolves had selected Ricky Rubio at #5 in the 2009 draft.

I questioned whether Rubio would ever actually play for our team.

I celebrated loudly and publicly when I saw the reports that Minnesota had finally signed him to play next season.

It’s pretty cool seeing those verbs line up, as it sums up my fandom. I enjoyed. I hated. I watched. I was shocked. I struggled. I cheered. I never understood. I hoped. I cried. I began to think. I ridiculed. I ate crow. I rejoiced. I questioned. I celebrated.

And Ricky Rubio gives me hope.

These last several years have been awful. Nothing has panned out. The Timberwolves have been so bad that their marketing team had to advertise that they were “re-re-rebuilding.”

Our draft record has been pretty terrible. We botched the 2006 draft, trading future All-Star Brandon Roy to the Blazers for Randy Foye. In 2007, we drafted Corey Brewer over Joakim Noah. In 2009, we took Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry.

Luckily, Rubio is here to save the team. And I mean that.

We have some excellent pieces. Kevin Love is the best rebounder in the NBA, and he continues to get better. He absolutely can be the second best player on a championship team. We’re about to (hopefully) select Derrick Williams with the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Michael Beasley showed promise last year. Wesley Johnson is fantastic when he’s aggressive. Luke Ridnour is a fine back-up point guard. Darko… yeah I’m not going to rave about Darko. Sorry.

And Ricky Rubio? Not only will Ricky win the Rookie of the Year award next year, but I believe he will be a genuine top 5 point guard throughout his NBA career.

His court vision is incredible for someone his age. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He isn’t a great shooter, but he’ll get better. He is the last, best hope for this team.

And I believe in Ricky Rubio.

Needless to say, next season we should start to see improvement. We should start to see that “blueprint for the future.” We should start to see a team that absolutely COULD compete for a championship in 3-5 years.

This SHOULD happen. It CAN happen. Hopefully it WILL happen. Otherwise, what was the point of chasing Rubio?

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