SBD/January 20, 2012/Franchises

Ricky Rubio's "Flair" Helps Revitalize T'Wolves, Create Excitement in Minnesota

Rubio helped T'Wolves sell most full season-ticket packages since Kevin Garnett era
T'Wolves G Ricky Rubio has "flair" and "a bit of box office in him," according to Shaun Powell of NBA.com. He is "creative, which makes people want to watch, because you're all but guaranteed to see a show on at least one ball possession." The "no-looks, ball fakes, wrap-around passes, they can only awaken the basketball pulse in Minnesota, formerly the home of 10,000 yawns." Rubio is willing to "ditch the ordinary for the outstanding, which separates him from lots of other players." He is "patient on and off the floor, very comfortable in his skin, very composed in tense moments during games and completely unaffected by the mania surrounding him." Powell: "The Wolves are only asking Rubio to give the franchise a facelift, bring people to the games, play convincingly enough to make [F Kevin] Love sign long-term, turn into this generation's Pistol Pete, help turn the Wolves into winners and make free agents want to sign with Minnesota in the future. You know, simple stuff. Scary thing is, he might actually pull that off" (NBA.com, 1/18). SI's Lee Jenkins notes the T'Wolves announced last month that they had "sold the most full season-ticket packages since the Kevin Garnett era, proof that the bounce pass can still push product." But the team is "careful to limit pressure on a player who has already been paralyzed by it" (SI, 1/23 issue). In St. Paul, Charley Walters noted after Rubio "averaged only 6.5 points and 3.6 assists in 20 games for Regal Barcelona in the Euroleague" last season," T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor "began to wonder about the point guard his team had drafted No. 5 overall" in '09. Taylor said, "He'd have a good game, then a bad game." But this season, Taylor is "pleasantly pleased." He added Rubio is "stepping up sooner than I thought for a young guy. He has come in and made all the other guys better" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/19).
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