There’s a long way to go in Ricky Rubio’s career — he’s just 21. We feel like we’ve been hearing about him forever because he burst on the scene at the highest level of Spanish basketball at age 16, but he is still very young.
Even at 21 he has the court vision and sense few others have. Yes, he needs a more consistent shot and other holes in his game need to be filled in, but he has “it.”
Don’t take my word for it, here is what Dwyane Wade told Fox Sports North about the Wolves rookie (via SLAM).
“The kid has something. He has that Steve Nash capability,” Wade said. “They’ve got a gem in him. He’s going to be great for them.”
In the ultimate sign of respect, after Rubio had led a Minnesota comeback with 4 points and 5 assists in the fourth quarter, Miami switched LeBron James over to cover him the final several minutes of the game. Rubio has been controlling the tempo of the game, James disrupted that (as he did to Derrick Rose in the fourth quarters of the Eastern Conference Finals last year).
Who knows how we’ll talk about Rubio in a decade. But there really is the potential there for him to be someone special.
Dirk Nowitzki is coming back for the Dallas Mavericks.
The veteran forward has been nursing a return from ankle surgery all season long, and has yet to make his debut in 2018-19. Despite not having Nowitzki on the floor, the Mavericks have jumped out to an impressive 15-11 record with Harrison Barnes, Luka Doncic, and DeAndre Jordan leading the way.
The news was announced on social media on Thursday before the Mavericks got set to take on the Phoenix Suns.
Of course, sending Nowitzki back onto an NBA floor against Phoenix is perhaps the easiest test he could have as he comes back from an injury. The Suns are god-awful, and Nowitzki will need some time to readjust to playing at full speed (or at least at whatever speed he normally plays at).
The 40-year-old German star should be able to help the Mavericks as a bench contributor this season. Hopefully with Nowitzki on the floor Dallas can solidify their potential playoff berth.
Markelle Fultz remains away from the 76ers, getting treatment for his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome while the rest of his teammates try to adjust to playing with Jimmy Butler (which is going better for some than others).
The sense around the league is the Sixers still plan to trade Fultz, they’re just waiting for better offers to come in, the first round was very lowball.
A few teams are kicking the tires on a trade, and among them are the Pistons, reports Rod Beard of the Detroit News.
Let’s be clear, nothing is close on any Sixers trade of Fultz right now. Teams are just testing the waters.
It’s an interesting idea for Detroit, the chance to add a player who was a high draft pick — but only if they think he’s healthy and can get over his mental hurdles (his agent said there aren’t any, it’s all physical, and most of the league laughed at that). Also, the sides need to find a trade that works. Fultz, as a No. 1 pick, is not cheap, he makes $8.3 million this season and is guaranteed $9.7 next season, then $12.3 million the season after that (unless whatever team has his rights and just cuts bait on that last season).
The Pistons are flirting with the luxury tax line right now, their $123.3 million payroll is just about $500,000 below the tax line, so Detroit will not be taking on any salary in any potential trade. They also sent out last year’s first-round pick in the Blake Griffin trade, so they can’t trade this year’s, and likely would not include a pick anyway. A deal centered around Ish Smith or Langston Galloway plus Zaza Pachulia works (after Dec. 15 when Pachulia becomes available to trade). Both provide guard depth and Galloway offers Philly some shooting (34.9 percent taking 65 percent of his shots from three this season). Reggie Bullock also could be part of a trade.
There are options. Right now the Pistons are among the teams kicking the tires on a trade, but we are a long way from it actually happening.
Trail Blazers fans are off the hook.
A couple Pacers fans are also terrible at tic-tac-toe.
I can’t rule out this being staged, which is disappointing.
But if genuine – wow.
There were a lot of general managers eyeing Spencer Dinwiddie as a quality point guard they could grab on the free agent market this summer at a fair price. The hardworking point guard out of the University of Colorado has averaged 16.9 points and 4.8 assists for the Nets this season, is shooting 36.8 percent from three, knows how to be a good floor general, and while a lot of fans may not know his name smart front offices around the league saw an above-average point guard that would fit their system.
Which is why the Nets decided to lock him up and not let him leave Brooklyn. The team announced the deal, Dinwiddie himself confirmed it, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the details.
That’s an above the league average but low starter money, and it’s a good deal for Dinwiddie, who is making $1.6 million this year and that’s the largest payday of his career.
If you don’t know what Dinwiddie can do on the court, go ask the Sixers — he dropped 39 on them last night.
The Nets are trying to build a culture and have a core of smart, solid players to put stars around, and Dinwiddie fits right into this model. They could have tried to lowball him and save some money, but that came with the risk of losing him this summer. The Nets decided to take care of their own instead, a good sign for the franchise.