Ricky Rubio is taking the NBA by storm.Amid all the talk of Kobe’s resurgence, the Portland Trailblazers taking hold of the Western Conference, and the 76ers’ surprising start, the Spanish sensation is getting plenty of attention despite playing for a losing team.
And rightfully so.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ rookie point guard is averaging nearly 8 assists per game, while scoring in double figures, showcasing a shooting range he rarely showed in Europe, playing excellent defence (1.6 steals/game), and most importantly, making other teams in the league think twice about overlooking his long downtrodden franchise.
A sample of the praise being bestowed upon Rubio from the national and local media:
He’s unkempt and unafraid, charismatic yet unassuming. His magnetism and passion for playing the game are trumped perhaps only by his court vision and creativity. – CBS Sports’ Ken Berger
There’s no longer a question of whether he belongs in the NBA. The question now forming about Ricky Rubio is, where will he end up among the position’s elite? – ESPN.com’s Zach Harper
He’s the rare subject of hype who turns out to be better than advertised. He’s the rare NBA player who prides himself on unselfishness. He is the rare athlete who succeeds because of savvy and intelligence rather than athletic ability. – Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Jim Souhan
Highlights reminding everyone of “Pistol” Pete Maravich help too.
Yes, the T’Wolves are tied for the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 3-7, but that may have something to do with how little Rubio actually plays. He’s on the floor less than 30 minutes per game, even though the team gives up 12 fewer points per 100 possessions when he’s playing versus when he’s sitting on the bench.
The league and those who cover it are sure noticing and bringing attention to the phenom’s surprising start, which means it’s only a matter of time before average sports fans start to as well.