With the NBA draft two-and-a-half hours away, word is the Timberwolves might parlay their four first-round picks into some kind of deal to acquire Spanish teen sensation Ricky Rubio.
(If you're reading this after the draft, and the rumor proved to be untrue, stop reading here).
The deal makes sense to us. Seems mutually beneficial. The Wolves are in need of a premier point guard, and Rubio reportedly wants to play for a team that will give him serious PT from the get-go. Still only 18, he'll need some time to develop. In guard-starved Minnesota, he can expect to be thrown to the Wolves right away, pun unfortunately intended.
So who the hell is Ricky Rubio?
Ricky Rubio, it should be admitted at once, looks like a 12-year-old aspiring indie rocker still trying to kick an unhealthy Harry Potter addiction. If you saw Rubio walking down the street and someone told you that the rail-thin mop-topped teenager is one of the most promising ballers in the world, you could be forgiven for laughing at them.
Until you see him pick up a basketball.
Blessed with the vision of a prophet and the body control of a sober ballet dancer, Rubio has been clowning grown men in Europe's most competive pro league since the age of 16. His on-the-fly, "how'd-he-see-that?!" decision-making grants him an aura more artist than athlete. His precociousness has made him something of a folk-hero across the pond.
In the states, the most common comparison he elicits is to Steve Nash... but Nash never defended like this cat does. Others hail him as the second-coming of Pete Maravich... but that, too, is somewhat unwarranted, seeing as Maravich was a shoot-first scoring-machine/black hole, whereas Rubio is a straight-up playmaker. (His haircut and facial features, though, are a dead ringer for the Pistol).
Obviously it remains to be seen whether his game will translate to the NBA. There's reason for skepticism. For starters, his athleticism is 'meh' at best; he's physically weak by NBA standards, and, despite off-the-charts fundamentals in all other regards, he's not a consistent shooter from deep. In fact, he's not even really a jump shooter at all, relying instead on a somewhat awkward-looking set shot. A set shot! Dude's straight out of the 70s.