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Hollinger: Top Rookie of the Year candidates

"2. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota The only question about Rubio was his shooting, but this one uncertainty loomed over everything. Statistically, his shooting percentages in Europe and international play were so impossibly bad that it seemed inconceivable he would convert at an acceptable rate in the NBA. Apparently, he got better. Either that, or these first 10 games have been a fluke of biblical proportions. Rubio has made 8 of his 17 3-point attempts and nearly half his 2s; as a result, a player who projected to shoot in the low 30s instead has one of the best TS% marks at his position. Rubio doesn't need to shoot like John Stockton to have value; he's so good in other areas that he just needs to be a non-awful shooter to make a major impact on the game. So far he's doing it, and in every other respect he's something of a Spanish Jason Kidd -- Rubio averages 10.9 assists and 5.4 boards per 40 minutes, plays exemplary defense, and has the size and moxie to defend most 2s. Yes, the Wolves are only 3-7, but it's a vastly more competitive 3-7 than the misery of last season, and for the first time in eons this franchise seems headed in the right direction. Ricky is a major reason. Because of the hype surrounding his entry and the spectacle of his passing skill, Rubio will have a major advantage in the Rookie of the Year voting. However, ultimately production is likely to win out. It's reasonable to expect Rubio's shooting numbers to regress a bit, even if they don't fall all the way back to the horrors of his past two seasons in Spain, and one player in particular should have the edge in both playing time and productivity." John Hollinger at ESPN.com (Insider)

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