Startling ...

Ricky Rubio ranks No. 1 on David Thorpe's weekly rookie watch on But that's not as surprising as this prediction from the guy who oversees player development for NBA and college players.

"Don't be surprised when some excellent free agent chooses to play for the Wolves because of the chance to play with a point guard like Rubio," Thorpe wrote after attending the Wolves' victory over Detroit on Wednesday, when Rubio made just one of eight shots but still recorded this stat line: nine points, eight assists, seven rebounds, six steals.

That's one big ambassador

Former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar travels to Brazil this week, his first work as a U.S. cultural ambassador. Named by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he will travel the world leading basketball clinics and engaging young people in what the NBA calls conversations about "education, social and racial tolerance, cultural understanding and using sports as a means of empowerment."

One Wildcat on another

Houston guard Chase Budinger was just leaving the University of Arizona when Wolves No. 2 Derrick Williams was arriving.

"He's a great player, super athletic, can do a lot of everything," said Budinger, who visits Target Center on Monday. "But the best thing about him is his attitude about basketball. He wants to play. He wants to get better. He's very humble. That's going to take him a long way."