Adelman, Rubio … A Perfect Pairing

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — For all the magic Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love or Rubio and Michael Beasley or even Rubio and Derrick Williams might make on the court, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ true dynamic duo this season should be Rubio and his new mentor.

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman holds the keys to Rubio’s rookie season, and his career to some extent, and so far is driving flawlessly so far. Much like Paul Silas did with LeBron James so many years ago, Adelman has to press all the right buttons early on with a player that is dealing with pressures, internal and external, that not every top draft pick has to deal with.

Rubio is only four games his journey and raised the stakes already with masterful performances in a loss to the Heat on Friday and Sunday’s win over the Mavericks, the two teams that played for the NBA title last season.

Did you see him work against the Mavericks? (If not, check the video above.) His 14-point, seven-assist, four-rebound showcase  included five consecutive points scored after the Mavs shredded a 15-point lead to just one.

It’s clearly a matter of time for Rubio to overtake Luke Ridnour as the starting point guard for the Timberwolves. But it’s up to Adelman to decide when to push that button. Adelman’s work with young point guards in the past — namely Jason Williams and also Mike Bibby in Sacramento — suggests that he is following a revised script that only he is privy to.

Based solely on the way they play, the Williams situation is the one that closely resembles what Adelman has on his hands with Rubio, a flashy, pass-first wizard whose offensive skills have exceeded the expectations of most. Adelman started Williams every game of that 1999-2000 season in Sacramento, no doubt learning some dos and don’ts about how to deal with a precocious talent that will be asked to play such an integral role on a team. Once he turned the team over to Williams there was no turning back.

Adelman shared some of his thoughts on the topic with Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:

“We’re still evaluating the team, and he’s going to have his minutes, he’s going to get a chance to play,” said Adelman, who played Rubio an average of 28.3 minutes in his first three games. “Those types of things will happen over time. You’ll know when it’s the right time to do it. Right now, we’re just trying to get a win.”

Many Wolves fans probably came to that conclusion after opening night, but for now Adelman continues to start Luke Ridnour and brings Rubio and J.J. Barea off the bench.

Asked if he is bringing Rubio along slowly so the rookie doesn’t feel too much pressure, Adelman said: “It’s one thing I really admire about him: He’s got a lot of pressure on him. The expectations are so high for him. It’s there all the time. He doesn’t seem to buy into that at all. He’s just trying to play his game. I don’t see him pressing or anything like that.

“Every rookie is going to go through ups and downs in this league, and he’s not going to be away from that. He’ll have to face that, too, but so far he’s done a nice job.”

Rubio’s fourth-quarter stats in four games: 7-for-10 shooting, 21 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds, a plus-27 in plus-minus rating.

As Rubio continues to impress, the pressure on Adleman to make the starting lineup change will continue to swell. But we’re banking on Adelman knowing when to say when and why it’s so important to proceed with caution, even with a player whose skills and performance scream “I’m Ready!”

A wise, veteran coach knows that there is such a thing as too much, too fast. And there is no reason to rush Rubio. Timberwolves fans waited two years to see him in their uniform. They can wait a couple of weeks more to see him in the starting lineup.



  1. Andrew Donaldson says:

    WCCO AM, 830 on the local dial, broadcasts all the Timberwolves games. For our friends in Spain who want to hear them, you can find it on the Web here:

    Rubio’s magical court vision has been something to see in action so far.

  2. Pau says:

    This Kid has already proven amazing skills and dominion over the game and also the external situations in every step of his career. As a teenager, he has extended all the limits in the ACB spanish league, also in the europe league, and with the spanish team in the olympics (facing all the great nba superstars).
    I bet He will develop naturaly to be an all-star caliber player.
    And all the good signs are there, great coach, an improving team, good chemistry + making teammates better, and always remember he is clever enough and a humble good kid.
    Go Ricky!

  3. Krizyl says:

    Ricky Rubio and Rick Adelman make a great tandem, just like Peja Stojakovic and Rick Adelman before in Sacramento Kings. Timberwolves will be a team to beat!! Ricky Rubio all the wayyyyyy..

  4. JacksonHtsNYC says:

    I am glad Rubio is playing in the NBA and is doing well. I am very glad his arrival coincides with the team’s hiring of a top coach, and I do not mind if he comes off the bench all season. He was on the floor when the Mavericks game was decided, at the end, and he performed beautifully.

    And for all the folks who were wondering if he could play in the NBA, his NBA Network interview after the Mavs game is interesting because he said that some of the NBA rules restricting zone defenses actually make it easier for him, as a playmaker, compared to the international rules he has played under up to now.

    It also appears to me that he likes his team, has great chemistry with his team mates, and really likes his City and their fans.

  5. charles manson says:

    whats the big fuzz about him starting games? didnt crawford come from the bench in every single team he played.. didnt (for god’s sake) ginobili come from the bench for 2,3 seasons? have you watched papaloukas too? hes been by far the best player in the teams he’s played for, and yet always came from the bench.. i just don’t see why the fact that rubio comes from the bench have to be a big deal. It means absolutely nothing, some players are just finding it easier and better for their game when not starting, at least when the coach introduces that and it has paid off. Rubio’s impact on this team is not challenged, hes getting minutes, ends games so i just think the whole bench thing is superficial and pointless

  6. vincent says:

    Ricky Rubio is a great player, he has a lot experience at his age because he is already a pro in the European leagues at age 14. But it is unfair to compare him to Pete Maravich, Steve Nash, Jason Williams, and John Stockton because it will only add more expectations for him and he’s playing style is different from them. Coach Rick Adelman is a great coach, he has done a great job at mentoring Rubio and the Timberwolves it is only a matter of time that Minnesota Timberwolves will become a playoff contender.

  7. Vanan says:

    Been a Timberwolves fan since the Garnett era and glad to see change is finally coming to Minnesota. Playoffs this year?

  8. jr philippines says:

    rubio all the way!!!!

  9. Iván says:

    Ricky is incredible.

  10. Jeff Jeff says:


  11. Chris says:

    I was a skeptic at first because we had to wait so long to get him, but he’s already proven he has the talent to be a top five point guard in this league. If he continues to progress, and eventually play more minutes, he’ll win rookie of the year for sure. Hell, he might even get in the All Star game as a reserve–if the Wolves can start winning more often. I’ve watched every minute of the Timberwolves this year, and yes, Rubio is one hundred percent legit. The team looks good for the first time in about eight years.

  12. Rubio Rocks says:

    TImberwolves need to change starting lineup: I say Rubio Johnson Love D.Williams Beasley – let’s see what that does to a game – Milicic is not very good – I don’t think you’ll lose more than you gain by inserting the smaller D.Williams

  13. Choche says:

    Look the 4 first seasons of Steve Nash how NBA player

    I think I don´t need to say anything more:

  14. alvin says:

    i might buy a RICKY’s wolves jersey ..vamos RICKY !!!

  15. L.A. says:

    wow!!!! great news at NBA, now i am a fan of wolves, ricky make me remember MAGIC johnson.

  16. james says:

    Love and Rubio must stay in this team to be contender again..

  17. anonimo says:

    Felicidades de un español Ricky sigue asi y no pares de trabajar para que esto solo sea el principio .En España creemos en ti y te apoyamos .

  18. From Mallorca-Spain says:

    I am a huge NBA spanish fan who has followed Rubio’s performances closely with great interest since he was 15 and hope that these high expectations don’t turn against him: His success in the nba could be compromised if his performances don’t meet your expectations in the future. In any case I trust the nba marketing expertise and star building prowess will look after his career. His talent is exceptional and at this point in time I thoroughly enjoy watching the excitement and happiness of Minnesota fans and teammates. All the best to him and the Wolves.

  19. Hugo says:

    Of course, javier, Ricky is not a normal rookie. OK, he is only 21, but he has more experience in basket than players who have been 8-10 years in NBA almost without playing playoffs. He is a very talented player, but in last months in Spain he wasn´t the normal Ricky, he was mentally blocked. Now he is playing like he knows and that´s the result: a wonderful playmaker who can make better his teemates and who can help his team to win.

  20. Mordernor says:

    I am not a Wolves fan but I´. reallly surprised to see Ricky doing such an amazing things. I want to thanks the Wolves because they are building a better player for the Spanish national team and our main goal, to win the Olimpics at London.

  21. Esteban says:

    Nice job! He’s been doin’ a great job but I wouldn’t forget Ridnour’s easy-going, cheerful mindset as a key to Rubio’s development. If they don’t hurry things, Wolves may have something special cooking.

    Best of luck for Rubio and Wolves. Maybe they won’t win a ton of games, but they’re funny to watch and now they compete night in, night out. Better attendance and better game -Adelman is solid-rock- will attract some good players to keep it going.

  22. Bam Bam says:

    I am by no means a Wolves Fan but I see amazing things out of rubio. I think his real time will come toward the end of the year. and once Kahn realizes that this beasley experiment is not working and Beasley is a one year wonder, they will move on to Williams at the 4 spot and we will see that potentially amazing front court of Williams and Love with the developing skills of Rubio turn into a force in th west.

    • Ryan says:

      Hear, Hear on Beasely. He has streaks where he can score, but he lets the team down at crucial moments and can go cold during one of those streaks in a flash. He’s often frustrating to watch because of it.

  23. L.L. says:

    Rubio is additionally probably quite valuable for the Wolves franchise because of the inernational interest he brings to the team. I’m not from Spain but still feel kind of a familiarity with European players like Hedo, Galo, Deng, Nowitzki … especially as Rubio plays in an exciting style. Looking forward to big things.

  24. Cade P. says:

    Im so glad the T-Wolves can finally start to look on the up and up of things they finally have the pieces to start competing! Ricky and Kevin Love are a deadly combo we need to lock them up for the years to come hopefully that will stay with the Wolves!

    The best site to follow them is either or ^^^

  25. legwkio says:

    Let’s watch out, because that kid will be an All-Star one day and it would be sooner rather than later.

  26. Ben says:

    That’s a great take. As a fan of the Timberwolves, I am just glad to see them playing competitively, and to see Rubio being effective at the end of the game when it matters most. I’m not in a hurry to see him in the starting lineup as long as he’s having effective minutes, is maturing as a player, and the team continues to develop a winning formula.

  27. javier says:

    Greetings from Spain!. You cannot compare Rubio with another roockies. He is pro since he was 14. He played finals in Spanish league, Eurocap league and with the Spanish National team he played Europe finals, Worldcup final and Beijing 2008 Olympics final. So, you can imagine the pressure he had to afford. To be true I expected a success of Rubio in NBA, but not this year. I would like to see statistics of Steve Nash when he was 21 and compare him with RUbio. We are pleased with Ricky in America, and from now Wolves is my favourite NBA team. Which is the best website to follow the Wolves?