Friday, October 7, 2011

Ricky Rubio: Becoming Rick Adelman's Alpha-T'Wolf

The Minnesota Timberwolves could conceivably start five forwards and call them their five best players.  Rich in forward talent, Minny has jettisoned from Spain the apparently forward-thinking Ricky Rubio- forward-thinking in terms of court vision, creativity, and playmaking, not "take him to Vegas betting rooms" forward-thinking- to lead the team.  

Rick Adelman's most vital task as the new head coach of the T'Wolves will be to give the team's new international point guard the appropriate amount of freedom to connect with his teammates of a similar age.    As noted in the Ric Bucher article, Adelman has experience with talented point guards, including Mike Bibby, Jason Williams, and Terry Porter.  Adelman is a seasoned vet when it comes to handling different types of floor generals.

Minnesota fans hope the newest T'Wolf's bite is as good as advertised. 
The Williams/Rubio comparisons permeate the hype that has followed the young Spaniard thus far, as have comparisons to "Pistol" Pete Maravich, a once-in-a-generation talent from a different era.  Adelman must toe the line and not give Rubio too much freedom so early in his career, especially with all of the young offensive-minded forwards begging for the ball to be distributed to them.  

Molding Rubio into an invigorating floor general who stabilizes his squad's offense will be a challenge.  An equally likely scenario sees Rubio following the pack and making chaotic hit-or-miss plays as required by a younger team's culture.  I won't pretend to know about Rubio's current leadership skills or maturity level, but every possibility should be covered.

The story of Maravich's career was that he was given too much freedom by his father before he hit the big leagues.  Once in the NBA, his irresponsible play continued, and he wasn't aided by having strong supporting casts either.  Fast forward 30 years to the era of Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury, two ultra-talented players listed as point guards who were given too much freedom early in their careers.  Francis and Marbury never became real point guards; not even Larry Brown could morph Marbury into one as a Knick.  Rubio likely won't end up like they did as passing seems more native to him.  

Williams may have seen success with Adelman on the early 2000s Sacramento teams, but he became a much better overall point guard when he was traded to Memphis and coached by Hubie Brown.  Think about this:  Sacramento got closest to winning a title in 2002 with Bibby in place of Williams, and Williams actually won a title as a key role player of the 2006 Heat after maturing into a competent floor general.

A creative distributor is exactly what a team plentiful in scoring forwards needs.  Rubio can make his teammates into finishers instead of iso-loving creators (sounds like a phone or a rock band).

Looking ahead two or three years, Minnesota could be a top-flight offensive team; that is, if the coach succeeds at giving the rookie T'Wolf the right amount of leash.  History has shown that straying too far from a coach's philosophy normally has negative consequences as far as team impact goes.  When it comes to making smart decisions on the court for Minnesota, Rubio must step forward.        

No comments:

Post a Comment