R-n-G Award Picks: Rookie of the Year - Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Runner-Ups: Ricky Rubio, Iman Shumpert, Kenneth Faried, Klay Thompson, Isaiah Thomas
The ROY choice would have been a lot more interesting if Kobe didn’t run into Rubio back in March, so the award undisputedly goes to the #1 overall pick, Kyrie Irving. Among all rookies, Irving leads in points per game (18.8), is 2nd in assists per game (5.5), is 5th in steals per game (1.08), and is 4th in 3 point shooting (39.8%). Stats aside now, if you’ve watched a Cleveland Cavaliers game (which you should have because Irving is so much fun to watch), then you’ve probably seen Irving completely take over several 4th quarters. His breakout moment has got to be his game winning layup against the Boston Celtics on January 29th.
If Irving was healthy the whole season, the Cavaliers would have probably been fighting for a Playoff seed along with the Milwaukee Bucks. Very impressive for a rookie who only played in 11 games his college career.
As much as I love Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio was definitely my favorite rookie all season. If he didn’t injure his knee, I personally would have liked to see a Co-Rookie of the Year happen (the last time two players shared Rookie of the Year was back in 1994 between Grant Hill and Jason Kidd, both of whom are still in the league). Rubio was realistically the only other rookie who gave Irving a run for his money. Though he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, Rubio led all rookies in assists per game with 8.2 and steals per game with 2.22. Rubio was very important to the Timberwolves team, because once he went down with injury, their playoff hopes left along with him.
All of the other rookies have shown that this past draft wasn’t nearly as weak as everybody thought it would turn out to be. Iman Shumpert has quickly become one of the best lockdown perimeter defenders in the league. Klay Thompson has shown since the Monta trade that he can be a top shooting guard in upcoming years. Kenneth Faried’s ability to rebound and insane athleticism made Nene expendable to the Nuggets. Isaiah Thomas went from the 60th pick in the draft to starting point guard for the Kings; even getting Rookie of the Month honors.
I can’t wait for these next few seasons because all of these players will be even better, and so much fun to watch.
I honestly would like to believe that this is the reason why the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t trade Michael Beasley. Pure comedy.
Minnesota Timberwolves G Ricky Rubio will be out for the rest of the NBA season and the Olympics with a torn ACL (source: Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports)
Goodbye fun times in Minnesota. He sustained the knee injury while guarding Kobe, so if you’d like, we can all blame him. Hopefully in these last 20+ games of the season Kevin Love can carry the team and keep their current 8th playoff seed. But who knows, the addition of Rubio was a main part of the change in culture for the Timberwolves squad.
This news makes me really sad, especially since the Wolves had become my 2nd favorite team (as well as everyone else’s). I just hope that he has a speedy recovery.
Your Minnesota Timberwolves singing (and dancing) to “Tearin’ Up My Heart” by NSYNC.
Of course you want to see the Minnesota Timberwolves dance and sing to N’Sync. OF COURSE YOU DO.
NBA Valentines pt. 2
NBA All-Star Weekend:
Rookie-Sophomore Game Rising Stars Challenge
The NBA decided to shake things up a little for the Rook-Soph game on Friday Night of All Star Weekend and took a note from the NHL All-Star Game. Instead of putting the Rookies up against the Sophomores, they have two teams managed by Charles Barkley and Shaq and the players will be chosen Old-School Playground style.
Also today, NBA.com unveiled the list of first and second year players that will participate in this year’s game:
No Jeremy Lin? Just kidding.
No Jimmer? Again, just kidding.
Looking at the pool of players, the fact that each team will be a mix of rookies and sophomores makes this game a lot more appealing. With the old system, the rookies would get killed.
My biggest fear with this event is that Chuck and Shaq will be the ones choosing teams, but as long as I get sweet Ricky Rubio lobs to Blake Griffin or Paul George, I’ll be a happy NBA fan.
(photo via Getty Images on NBA.com)
This is a Ricky Rubio Appreciation Post
Yesterday, Friday the 13th of January, Ricky Rubio recorded his first ever NBA start, so I decided to dedicate a post to him.
I’m not going to lie, I was very skeptical of Ricky Rubio when he decided to join the Timberwolves this past summer. Granted, I haven’t watched a lot of Euroleague basketball, but from what I have seen and learned, I made up my mind that he was just a flashy passer that wouldn’t pan out on the NBA level. (Part of this comes from my bias of watching Stephen Curry outplay him during the USA vs. Spain game at the 2010 FIBA World Championships).
Boy, was I wrong.
Passing was never going to be an issue for this kid, and he showed it right from the get go.
The Minnesota Timberwolves opened up the 2011-2012 season versus the West favorites to win the conference: the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Wolves ended up with a loss, but a few bright spots shone through, one of which was their shining rookie. You knew that something was special when he weaved this bounce pass between Eric Maynor and Nick Collison:
And that was the beginning of something beautiful.
The Timberwolves’ third game came against the favorites to have the best record in the league: The Miami Heat. Yes, the Wolves ended up with another loss, but this game gave Rubio his first ever NBA double-double with 12 points and 12 assists.
My biggest knock on Rubio at first was that he wouldn’t be able to shoot, but honestly watching the Wolves play, he doesn’t really need to shoot. He creates for his teammates so well that they should knock down their open looks from his assists. Also, he’s shooting 47.1% from the field, which is really not bad at all for a guard. Granted, he doesn’t take a lot of shots, but that’s still a good percentage.
I also want to point out that on January 8th vs. the Washington Wizards, Rubio threw this great lob to a wide open Derrick Williams:
Rubio loves those long lobs, doesn’t he.
Through ten games, Rubio had been coming off the bench for Rick Adelman. Adelman, a very good and well respected coach is known for giving some burn to rookies, mostly to help them develop coming off the bench. Everyone wanted to see him start, though, as well as he should. Nothing against Luke Ridnour, though. He’s a serviceable point guard that does deserve a starting spot on most teams, but when you got a player as electrifying and as good as Ricky Rubio, you have to start him.
Which brings us to the T-Wolves game vs. the New Orleans Hornets. Adelman decided to start Rubio at the point and he didn’t disappoint. Let’s just explain it this way: Rubio behind the back pass to Ellington for the three.
I mentioned in my season previews that I expected Timberwolves teammate Derrick Williams to win this season’s Rookie of the Year. It’s too late to take back that choice, but at this moment in time, Ricky Rubio will win this season’s Rookie of the Year. With that type of play and that kind of hype, it’s no question that he will win. His numbers may not stand out at 10 ppg and 8apg, but he’s ROY material. By the way, his 8 assists per game rank if 8th in all of the NBA. The next rookie down is Kyrie Irving who ranks 25th with 5.2.
If Rubio wins this season’s Rookie of the Year, that would mean the 3 most recent ROY awards would all go to players drafted in 2009. That draft class is looking better and better each year.
I have given into the Rubio hype and it is amazing. I’m happy for the Timberwolves; they’re a team to watch again.
Ricky Rubio’s Sweet Bounce Pass to Derrick Williams for the Reverse Slam vs. OKC Thunder (Dec. 26th)
These Timberwolves are definitely what they call a “League Pass” team. Sure, they might end up having the worst record in the league again (which I highly doubt they will anymore) but the fact is that these players are exciting to watch. Ricky Rubio has great court vision, and guys like Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley know how to both shoot and attack the paint. Don’t forget the knew Kevin “Skinny” Love, still grabbing boards and shooting threes.
I’m considering ordering NBA League Pass and the Timberwolves is one of the main reasons why.
The award for the first amazing play of the 2011-2012 [pre]season goes to… Ricky Rubio with the alley to Derrick Williams!
I’m afraid to say it… but this Minnesota Timberwolves squad looks very exciting to watch. The grouping of Rubio, Love, Williams, Beasley, and coach Rick Adelman will be something to look forward to, something you couldn’t say about the T-Wolves since Kevin Garnett’s time.
Oh, and yet another charity game highlight video.
Last night also saw Drew Gooden’s Make A Wish Foundation charity game in San Francisco. I’m actually really sad I missed this. One: the City is only a 30-40 minute drive for me. Two: A lot of NBA players I really like were at this game, like Derozan, Wright, Harden, Gordon, Tyler, and Noah. Not sure if I would have enjoyed seeing big guys like Gooden and Varejao run the point though, but this game sure looked fun. Shawn Marion needs to get outta here with that Sisqo hair, though.
Oh, and a little Spanish kid named Ricky Rubio also came out, making his American debut on the court. Man, those passes were sweet.
I need more friends who are not busy and would be down to go with me to these games.