Rubio’s Return Ahead Of Schedule?

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — While the Chicago Bulls proceed with caution in regard to Derrick Rose‘s recovery, the Minnesota Timberwolves are optimistic about the eventual return of Ricky Rubio.

Rubio tore his ACL on March 9, 50 days before Rose. The Bulls see Rose coming back after the All-Star break, while Wolves owner Glen Taylor believes that Rubio could be a little ahead of that relative timeline, as Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press writes

Taylor said he could only guess when Rubio will be healthy enough to play after coming off March knee surgery. The Wolves will open the season Nov. 2.

“The doctors said he was progressing faster than normal, and normal was supposed to be in January,” Taylor said Tuesday, Aug. 14, a day before heading to China on a two-week charity mission. “Faster than normal would be December. He’s going to start running and stuff in a few weeks.”

That’s good news for Wolves fans, because their team was not the same without Rubio last season, going 5-20 after his injury. You’d think that they would have fallen off offensively, but a look at the numbers reveals that Rubio’s absence was felt much more on the other end of the floor.

Wolves efficiency before and after Rubio injury

Timeframe W L Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
Before injury 21 20 95.7 101.6 100.7 +0.9
After injury 5 20 96.3 101.3 108.3 -7.1

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

The Wolves allowed only 99.6 points per 100 possessions with Rubio on the floor, but 105.3 with Luke Ridnour on the floor and 104.9 with J.J. Barea on the floor, quite a discrepancy from one point guard to the others.

The good news is that, at the start of this season, the Wolves can do a better job of making up for Rubio’s absence on defense. They key, of course, is the addition of Andrei Kirilenko.

Kirilenko’s length, athleticism and instincts make him one of the better defenders in the league. Over his last five seasons in Utah, the Jazz were much better defensively with Kirilenko on the floor (103.0 points per 100 possessions allowed) than with him on the bench (106.6).

Offensively, the Wolves weren’t great without Rubio last season, but they weren’t terrible either. And Kirilenko should make a similar defensive impact with the Wolves as he made with the Jazz. That’s why Minnesota might be able to get by and stay in the Western Conference playoff picture until Rubio gets back.

Of course, when he’s healthy, we’ll all be happy to see Rubio on the floor again.


  1. Jason Woo says:

    I don’t think Rubio is playing like Steve Nash but Jason Kidd. Both Jason and Ricky are good in court vision, defense and in some senses, rebound, but most importantly both have to develop the shooting skills in their early career. Of course, playing either like Nash and Kidd are great!! They all will be HoF.

    For TWolves, definitely they will make the playoff if there is no more killing injuries. But I would like to see how the rotation will be … with the talent group of players. I like the way Adelman is coaching, especially during the ages of Sacramento. Can’t wait to see what will happen.

  2. miguel says:

    keep going Ricky , i can ´t wait to lose part of the night to see you playing fun baskball, Always talented,humble ,I hope you get a bit confidence in your scoring ability and then you wil make a fabulous player,good,you are already that,
    Ricky the boy born to make people have a good time on a court.

  3. mindofmattman says:

    MN has an awesome chance to make the playoffs the year and a healthy rubio will make that a sure thing…however with kirilenko and shved as well as kevin love dominating like he did last year, they should be in the playoff doubt:

  4. mindofmattman says:

    w/out rubio, this team will struggle making the playoffs..however, kevin love is coming off a great season and signing kirilenko and shved should def help plus adelman is one of the best coaches in the league..i wouldnt be surprised if they sneak into that 8th or 7th spot:

  5. Playoff Prediction (western conference):
    1. San Antonio
    2. OKC
    3. LA Lakers
    4. Memphis
    5. LA Clippers
    6. Minnesota
    7. Denver
    8. Utah Jazz

    • crwuser says:

      So glad you took Dallas out, but I would have the clippers at 4 and the wolves, griz and nuggets fighting for 5.

  6. WuT says:

    He’s young he’s 21… he’ll heal fast of course

  7. Patrickmarc says:

    “faster than normal“ said the doctor, I believe Rubio will start in november.

  8. serbs forever says:

    petrovic is the best shooter of all time R.I.P. drazen

  9. MG20 says:

    And to think Adelman once didn’t favor international (European) players (Petrovic when he was a Blazer), now he’s got a whole bunch of them on his team 🙂

  10. jonas says:

    KEVIN LOVE will carry the team he will average 28 points and 15 rebounds mark that, kevin love will be the MVP of this season and the timberwolves will be in the playoffs maybe 7 or 8!

    • Sunsman says:

      Really. Jonas, sorry but you don’t know much mate. 28 points maybe, 15 boards – won’t be seen in this league anymore. T’wolves maybe 7th or 8th yep sure. Love for MVP on a team only 7th or 8th No Way that happens with Durant and more importantly Lebron still out there.

  11. ralph says:

    rubios is as good as nash the lakers got to chase him after nash leaves

  12. james says:

    they need a better back up pg

    • dattebayo says:

      They have Roy, Shved, Barea and Ridnour until Rubio comes back. Thats 3 guys who are used to playing point guard and every one of them is a capable shooting guard. I don’t think any of those guys is able to set Love, Pekovic and others up for bunnies and open looks like Rubio, but they all are capable players. The only thing they might miss is a lockdown defender.

    • Devon says:

      We have plenty of back up PG, we just need the team chemistry to kick in early and the wolves will be on top this year no doubts about that.

  13. Mark Collado says:

    Hope you will be 100% by the time Timberwolves make their trip to Oakland. It would be the greatest birthday gift to see you play along side with your teammates. Good Luck with your recovery and stay positive ! ! !

  14. luke says:

    Timberwolves in this year gonna make the Playoffs for sure in my opinion. With G Rubio G Roy F Kirilenko F Love C Pekovic, they’re really good team to hope for nice season this year. They need more expreienced bench I think, and we would see really hard year for other teams to hold a Playoff spot in West battling with Timberwolves. I wisht best of luck to them, and come faster new rising PG star Ricky R. (new nash imo) We need you!

  15. fuggingolliwog says:

    I’ve got a feeling the Wolves are going to be beast this season!

  16. s27m says:

    Rubio is awesome! Love the way this guy plays, he is a natural point guard. He’s got potential to be very Steve Nash like in his carreer!

    All The Best Ricky, get well soon!

  17. nafis says:

    john i respect u alot but its very idiotic to say they MIGHT hold a playoff spot in the west. Did u completely forget that they added Roy as well? As long as that mans healthy im sure they will be able to hold down a playoff spot regardless of rubio and his recovery process.

    • The Real Truth of the matter says:

      The Timberwolves will improve big time, but they are in the western conference. It will be pretty tough for them to make the playoffs.

      San Antonio
      Final Spot = Utah or Minnesota

      • dattebayo says:

        Dallas and Utah will struggle to make the playoffs, come on now. The Wolves added great talents and got rid of their worst players in Milicic and Johnson. The only reason they didn’t make the playoffs last year was due to all the injuries the Wolves had to deal with. The 9 players who played the most minutes combined to miss 166 games because of injuries, that’s almost 3 keyplayers they missed in every game. They will make the playoffs this year, easily…

      • T wolves will get to the playoffs this year…

    • cb1 says:

      Miami should trade norris cole for ricky rubio since minnesota want to make playoff and don’t want injured point guard.
      Then Erik Spoestra should trade battier (3x defensive champion) for roy brandon where he can restart his career for the miami heat.
      Starting 5:
      Chris Botch
      Roy brandon
      Dwyane Wade
      Ricky rubio
      Ray allen

      No team can defend this team. this is dynasty that is the matter that is created for lyf.

      • D Lion says:

        Of course no one can defend that team…when it has 6 players on the floor!

        Btw, Brandon Roy is how his name is arranged, and you kind of “botched” the spelling of Chris Bosh 🙂