Chip Scoggins: Rubio worth watching, might be worth the wait

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2011 - 4:59 AM

Ricky Rubio showed Wolves fans what they've been missing, demonstrating some of the flair that made them pine for him the past two-plus years.

Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks saw Ricky Rubio with his own two eyes about an hour before tipoff Monday night. Until that moment, he only had heard about the Timberwolves rookie point guard.

"I saw him for the first time and it was like, 'He is real,' " Brooks said, smiling. "Like a folk hero."

The Rubio hype finally gave way to Rubio reality in the Wolves season opener at Target Center, and the 21-year-old Spaniard made quite a first impression.

Rubio came off the bench to record six assists, six points and five rebounds with no turnovers in a 104-100 loss to the Thunder, arguably the NBA's best team.

Rubio piloted the fast break with precision, set up teammates for easy baskets and showed some of the flair that made him a YouTube sensation while Wolves fans patiently awaited his arrival for two years.

More than anything, Rubio looked like he belonged. He looked comfortable on the court. He looked ready for this new challenge.

The Wolves played hard and gave their fans reason to believe that better days lie ahead. It was Rubio, however, who created the biggest buzz on opening night.

"We lost so you can't be 100 percent happy," Rubio said. "But I feel like I helped the team."

Rubio looked as good as advertised in his debut, which might have been the most impressive thing about his performance because of all the speculation and hype that preceded it. Nobody walked out of Target Center disappointed in what they witnessed from him.

Yes, it's only one game and Rubio still has to prove himself on a nightly basis. We still don't know how he'll hold up physically in the grind of an NBA season. He also has to show that he can handle himself defensively against the league's top point guards.

But boy is he fun to watch, especially running the fast break. The most telling aspect of Rubio's debut is that he made a meaningful impact while attempting only three shots. He left fans buzzing with his no-look passes and overall court awareness and vision.

Rubio is the classic pass-first point guard. He rarely looks to create his own shot and even turned down a few open looks in order to set up teammates.

He had assists on three consecutive baskets -- two on fast breaks -- in a second-quarter flurry. He brought the crowd to its feet again with a bounce pass off the dribble to Anthony Randolph in transition. That gave Rubio four assists in his first nine minutes of NBA action.

His best pass came early in the fourth quarter when he threaded another bounce pass through traffic to fellow rookie Derrick Williams for a reverse dunk that gave the Wolves a one-point lead.

"He really sees the floor," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "He competes at both ends of the court. We just have to give him a little bit of time to work his way in. It's going to be an up-and-down situation for him. All rookies face that. He seems to have an awful lot of hype going his way, but I don't see him buying into that. I just see him as a young man who really wants to learn, really wants to do well."

Adelman decided to bring Rubio off the bench and start Luke Ridnour, but for how long? The Wolves clearly don't want to rush things with Rubio, but he was on the court in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

Rubio took a charge late in the quarter and followed that with a 15-foot jumper. And he had the ball in his hands with less than 20 seconds left and the Wolves trailing by two. That says a lot about the coaching staff's faith in him.

The Wolves couldn't close the deal, but they had to feel encouraged by many things from their performance. Rubio's effort ranked near the top of that list.

Adelman stood outside the locker room before the game and sounded as curious as everyone else about what he would see in the opener. He was talking about his entire team, but his sentiment certainly applied to Rubio specifically.

The rookie point guard provided some answers, optimism and entertaining basketball.

Some might even say it was worth the wait.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Minnesota's Ricky Rubio passed to Wes Johnson in the second quarter ag...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - D. Hutchison 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Tanaka
Washington - S. Strasburg 12:10 PM
Miami - N. Eovaldi
NY Mets - J. deGrom 12:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Boston - J. Kelly 12:35 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 12:35 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 12:40 PM
Tampa Bay - N. Karns
Cleveland - C. Kluber 1:10 PM
Minnesota - A. Swarzak
Detroit - R. Porcello 1:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Seattle - H. Iwakuma 1:10 PM
Houston - C. McHugh
Los Angeles - J. Wright 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner
Texas - N. Tepesch 2:35 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 3:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong 3:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Arizona - W. Miley 3:10 PM
Colorado - C. Bergman
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 12:30 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 4:00 PM
Washington
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 2:00 PM
Toronto FC
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close