Ricky Rubio is back in Minnesota, where his NBA journey started on December 26th, 2011. It’s been 3,293 days since then, and the Wolves had one season above .500 (47-35 in ’17/’18 with Thibs and Jimmy Butler). That means Ricky is still waiting for a playoff game in a Wolves jersey, and if the first four games are any indicator, it won’t happen this year.
The Wolves are 2-2, but the play has been much worse than their record indicates. The 13th most expensive team in the NBA at $128,979,723 should look like a decent basketball team. Their two max guys in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell can’t play the young guy card anymore – this is their 6th season in the league, and by now, they are what they are. Rubio summed it up very well.
“When things weren’t going our way, everybody goes playing selfish. We have to learn. There’s a lot of excuses. We’re young, blah, blah, blah, this and that, but once you step on the court, you’re playing for an NBA team, and the last two games, it’s been ridiculously bad.”Ricky Rubio, Twin Cities
What the Spanish veteran is describing has been a problem with the Wolves for a while. There’s a difference between guys in the park hooping and a professional basketball team playing in the NBA. The moment things go south, the Wolves lose patience and turn to hero ball. That’s how you get blown out by the Lakers without AD and Clippers without Kawhi.
“We have to show some pride. There’s things we can’t accept and one of them is we can lose games in this league. There’s a lot of guys who can compete and beat you, but we can’t lose the way we did the last two games.”Ricky Rubio, Twin Cities
Someone send this quote to Paul George. To be fair, the Wolves have been playing without Towns, but apart from the few seasons with KG on the team, Towns hasn’t been a poster boy for defensive effort. A young team may not have the experience or knowledge to play tremendous defense, but there’s no excuse for lack of effort.
This is why young teams need veteran players. Rubio has a history with the organization, is a good player, and will call guys out. If the goal is to be a consistent playoff team in the West, the goal isn’t being good in Fantasy but in real life.
“We’re 2-2, which is a good record, but it doesn’t show exactly where we’re at. We’re way worse than 2-2 right now.”Ricky Rubio, Twin Cities
Let’s see if the team accepts Rubio’s insight and starts changing its ways.