Was it just coincidence that two of the brightest and rising stars that we particularly featured in this blog… are fading?
I’m talking about the sudden drop that the New York Knicks have experienced since Linsanity happened, and the season-ending injury incurred by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio. As of this writing, the Knicks are playing away from home against current MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, hoping snap a five-game slide since All-Star break. The Wolves, on the other hand, will be hoping for a savior in some other form than the young Spanish phenom, whose ACL was torn during a game against the Lakers.
But let’s be clear on one thing though–we’re not consigning the bright futures of these two stars to the flames already. All we’re saying is that just when things were hyping up for them, all of a sudden, something devastating, or at the very least frustrating, comes along their way to dampen the prospects of a good career ahead of them. With the effect of the lockout already limiting these two guys some playing time to shine brightest, they still have to tackle the pressure put on them, whether consciously or subconsciously, by their fans and franchises, as well as the growing stiff competition as the season nears playoff mode.
Perhaps what we, and all of these two players’ fans, are concerned about is that the timing can’t be worse, and that peaking for them might have come way too early. If only they did not flash the brilliant performances that they did early into the season, there wouldn’t be much regret or frustration in the part of their followers and respective teams. But with all of these happening, all of us wishing for a happy ending for Lin and Rubio are suddenly snapped back to reality–a reality that reminds us how fairly unfair basketball life can be.
But hoping is still and will always be allowed for us. And so we hope. Hope that just as things turned from good to bad, it will take a reversal of fortunes. Otherwise, we’ll need to look up to the skies once more for new stars to discover.
So they’ve got different names already going around for Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio.
Ridiculous Ricky. Ricky “The Real Deal”.
Reading his entry on Wikipedia, I picked up a word used by former NBA guard Pepe Sanchez in describing the 21-year old Spanish guard.
“I think he’s a freak of nature, being so young and being so skilled and also so cool all the time.” said Sanchez.
And so, based on my Google searching, seeing only at best one obvious match, I am officially dubbing this young freak of nature…
So far, based from all the youtube videos uploaded about him and his stint with DKV Joventut, he’s been living up to this newfound dub on him. In an interview with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade during their match-up last December 30, the two all-stars gave high praises for Rubio and his unique feel for the game. Having squared off against him four years ago during the 2008 Beijing Olympics basketball finals, Wade made mention of his observations about Rubio’s amazing skills in passing, even comparing him to when Steve Nash was in his prime shape. Their observations came true as Rubio scored 12 and dropped 12 dimes, putting on a show that got Miami their first close call to losing that night. The Heat did escape with the 103-101 win over the Wolves, but the way Rubio played has everyone talking about him.
And I think I forgot to mention. He’s just 21.
He was the youngest player ever to go pro at 14 for the ACB League. He is the first ever player born in 1990 to have been drafted by the NBA. And to think that he waited for two more years before actually deciding to become part of the Wolves, makes you think why shouldn’t the basketball world talk about and notice this young guy make his presence felt in the NBA.
While the Wolves have yet to truly prove themselves as a winnable franchise this year, having Ricky Rubio around makes the prospect of their future brighter than ever. And you still have Kevin Love to think about.
Rubio has only been seven games old in the NBA, and his team has lost five of them. That, perhaps, is a reminder to every one expecting much from him that he still has a lot to go through. With all probability the time for Rubio and the Wolves to once again be contenders may not be this year. But if the two-year waiting for him to finally happen is now being paid off by his excellent ball passing skills, then would it be too much to wait for a few more seasons to sharpen him more until he becomes a star?
And by then, for sure, we’ll have to think of freakier name for him.
The presence of Ricky Rubio already made an impact to the ‘Wolves.
But the absence of Manu Ginobili made a greater impact on the Spurs.
The Timberwolves finally solved the Spurs at home, 106-96, their second big win after upsetting the defending champs Dallas Mavericks just the other night. Phenom guard Ricky Rubio wasn’t as hot and sizzling as in other nights, but Luke Ridnour picked up the slack with 19 points and 6 assists. Kevin Love led all scorers with 24 points, grabbing 15 boards along the way.
Ginobili was going for a reach in to the ball when he fractured his fifth metacarpal, according to initial x-ray results. As of this writing, there is no timeline for the all-star guard’s return in the starting line-up of the team already concerned with the aging of their star players. Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson each had 16 to top all scorers for the Spurs, while all the five starters of Minnesotta were in double digit scores.
The Spurs have anchored their offensive runs around Ginobili’s slick passing and slashing into the paint since halfway through the season last year. With him gone, guarding duties will be heavily taken over by Tony Parker. Coach Gregg Popovich, who just recently notched his 800th win as a coach, will need to reformulate his strategies if they would like to keep up with the changing times in the league, where new and fresher teams have been dominating, knocking over the old-time contenders off the charts one by one.
The Spurs are just a game ahead of Minnesotta at 3-2, while the Wolves at 2-3, have taken over Dallas by half a game in the standings. Both San Antonio and Minnesotta will have one day off in the playing schedule after their recent match-up.