Tag: Zach LaVine

Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings

Ricky Rubio is confident Timberwolves not looking to trade him


Ricky Rubio’s name has come up in increased trade speculation the last few weeks. And we mean speculation. An international basketball site took reports that Phil Jackson says the Knicks need more talent in the backcourt and combined with a Boston Globe report the Timberwolves are a little frustrated with the pace of improvement in Rubio’s game to create a trade rumor where nothing of substance exists. Other speculation surrounds the Nets. It’s August, so some people are talking about it.

Rubio says he doesn’t buy it.

He is in Dubai right now and said this to Gulf News (hat tip Fox Sports).

“I have confidence that the team wants me but you know in this league anybody can get traded,” said the flashy playmaker. “You don’t listen to the rumours. You just live day-by-day and that’s it.”

When asked if he wanted to stay with the long-suffering Timberwolves, Rubio gave a firm: “Yes.”

It would be a mistake for Minnesota to trade Rubio right now as their starting point guard unless they have a viable backup plan. And Zach LaVine is not a viable backup plan. (His athleticism is not in question, but his understanding of the game, his rate of turnovers, and his poor defense do not project as someone you want to be your starting point guard.) If Minnesota wants to move on from Rubio, the question becomes who do they move on to? Andre Miller is on the roster but he’s not the long-term answer, and Tyus Jones is a long ways off if he gets there at all.

Rubio has the potential to elevate the games of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns with his creativity on the floor. Minnesota has so much potential with this roster; they need to play it out for part of the season and evaluate how the pieces fit, then start to think about moves. Moving Rubio now — especially for what the Knicks or Nets can offer in return — is a bad idea.

But it’s August, so discuss it if you want.

Jamal Crawford, other NBA stars take court for Seattle Pro AM vs. Drew League (VIDEO)

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

This would have been fun to attend, a little showdown between the Seattle Pro AM and the Los Angeles-based Drew League.

It attracted plenty of NBA talent: Jamal Crawford, Zach LaVine, Isaiah Thomas, Stanley Johnson, Trevor Ariza, Baron Davis, Nate Robinson, Malcolm Thomas, Dorell Wright, Bobby Brown and Spencer Hawes were among the ballers. And when you turn those guys loose in a world with no defense, you get a show.

Enjoy, we’re still a couple of months away from NBA games that matter so this can be a little fix.

Zach LaVine throws down alley-oop windmill dunk in Seattle pro-am game (VIDEO)

Zach LaVine, Damian Lillard

During his rookie season with the Timberwolves, Zach LaVine became known around the NBA as one of the league’s most electric dunkers. He showed out in the annual pro-am game in his hometown of Seattle, throwing down this windmill alley-oop:

Besides Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, LaVine’s dunks are undoubtedly one of the reasons the Wolves should be major League Pass favorites this season.

Ricky Rubio loves Kevin Garnett as a teammate

Ricky Rubio, Kevin Garnett

Minnesota brought Kevin Garnett back — and he waived his no-trade clause to come back — in part to mentor the young stars of the Timberwolves such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

KG has long been seen as a guy you love to have on your team but hate playing against — something Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio confirmed, something Rubio confirmed speaking in the Philippines.

Rubio said he used to be intimidated by Garnett, as reported by rappler.com (hat tip NESN).

“When I was growing up, I watched a lot of KG’s games and I was a little afraid, so when he came to the team I was concerned but at the same time I was super excited, because I had a chance to play with him in 2012 locally,” Rubio said on Friday, August 21.

“I was working out in LA and we played some friendly games and he was over there and I had a chance to meet him,” recalls the 6-foot-4 point guard, who went on to say that the KG NBA fans see on their TV screens or on the court isn’t precisely the person he really is.

“He’s not that guy that it seems on the basketball court. He’s really a good guy, nice guy, and helps your teammates. He kills for you,” said Rubio, who’s about to play his fifth year in the NBA.

Garnett has lost a step on the court, but the mental part of the game is still there — and he’s willing to teach it if a player is ready to listen and take it seriously. Not every player takes their opportunities to learn from the greats seriously — *cough* Andrew Bynum *cough* — but Towns has said he already has started working with Garnett back around Summer League.

The goal with rebuilding — at least everywhere outside of Philadelphia — is to have a down season or two, draft good young players (maybe trade for another), then build back up with them at the core. It helps that process along to have a veteran the players will listen to on the way back up.

Garnett is perfect for that role — when he came to the Timberwolves last year he was still the first guy in the gym working out. Young players need to see that, need to see what it takes to be great. They need to see that drive. It’s going to make Minnesota better in the long run.

Ricky Rubio thinks Timberwolves can make the playoffs

Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings

Last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves won 16 games, in large part due to having the worst defense in the NBA.

This season, they’re a team that will be fun to watch. Ricky Rubio dishing at the point with flair, Andrew Wiggins improving out on the wing and finishing like a beast, Karl-Anthony Towns finding his way in the paint, Zach LaVine dunking on everyone. They will be improved and entertaining.

The playoffs? That is still a ways off.

Unless you ask Rubio, which someone did at an Adidas store in the Philippines (Rubio is on tour promoting the brand). Rubio said he believes they can do it, as reported by rappler.com.

“I always dream big, and I always put the bar level really high, I know the Western Conference is really tough. There’s a lot of good teams who can make the playoffs, but I believe. I believe in me, I believe in my team, and I think we can do it….

“If we stay healthy, there’s no doubt that we’re going to have a chance. We have to be there to do that, and dream big.”

After playing just 22 games last season due to injury, if they can get a full season out of Rubio it makes the Timberwolves that much better. They have a good young core that’s improving. They have Kevin Garnett as a mentor. There is a lot to like, a lot of potential. This is going to be a team you stop and watch on League Pass.

But the playoffs. In the West? That’s more than a big dream, that’s fantasy right now.