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David Kahn: We Knew Ricky Rubio Wouldn’t Come This Year

ricky-rubioA few months into the season and the big debate that occurred on draft day regarding the Timberwolves has been pushed aside in favor of more current topics. Still, Minnesota is struggling at 3-17 while their top draft pick is playing bacll in Spain, and their other top pick is being overshadowed by a player selected lower in the draft. Timberwolves GM David Kahn answered some questions about their highly publicized draft for Hoops World. This comment stood out:

“I felt then, as I feel now, (drafting Rubio) was the best thing for us to do in terms of our long-term future,” Kahn asserted. “The only other choice that could have been made, I felt, at that moment… well, there were two others. We could have done Stephen Curry, and we were considering DeMar DeRozan. Stephen, as you know, was also a point guard, so there was sort of the same issue there. DeMar is a wing who I think has a lot of talent and a really bright future, but at the end of the day I really felt that for our future Rubio was the best pick. And I knew that he probably wasn’t going to come right away. I was told that morning that it was going to be at least a year. Even with the wait, we thought it was the best thing for us to do. I surely do feel the same way today.”

Kahn may remain confident that this was the right move but I still have several questions. For one, you can start with his choice of Jonny Flynn 6th overall. I’m still not convinced Ty Lawson or Brandon Jennings aren’t better point guards and both were available. Next, it’s not like they used a late second round pick on Rubio and stashed him away in Europe for a few years the way the Spurs did with Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola. This was a high profile top-five pick and the Timberwolves desperately needed to turn their franchise around. I really don’t think they could afford to wait on Rubio and get nothing out of the pick, especially considering they traded away Mike Miller and Randy Foye for the extra selection. I realize things would look better for Minnesota if they had Al Jefferson and Kevin Love healthy this whole time, but imagine them with Brandon Jennings and Steph Curry on their team instead of Jonny Flynn. It’s too early to say they got the draft flat out wrong, but I know they could have done better.

via The Baseline

Was Drafting Jonny Flynn a Curse or Blessing for the Timberwolves?

ricky-rubioThe news has become official: Ricky Rubio will remain in the Spanish league the next two seasons and play for Barcelona. David Kahn is saying Rubio backed out of a deal with the team but I’m guessing he’s just saying that to save face. Most people probably won’t know why Rubio has decided to remain in Spain but we can take some guesses.

The first issue may have been that Rubio was drafted by a perceived second-rate, small-market organization. Rubio likely wanted to go to a bigger market where he had the potential to become a star. By biding his time, he can wait and see how things shake out in Minnesota, hoping that they may wind up trading him. Secondly, this could have been a financially motivated move considering DKV Joventut put unfair restrictions on him, pricing his buyout at like $5 million. Since the NBA team that drafted him could only pay $500,000 towards the buyout, having the new deal reached through Barcelona saves Rubio money.

The last reason why Rubio may have been turned off by Minnesota is their choice of Jonny Flynn with the sixth pick. Is it possible that Minnesota’s insurance plan for Rubio is the reason Rubio didn’t want to join the team? Did he take it as a bad sign that the team selected another point guard in the first round and was he insulted? It sure is a possibility and I blame Minnesota for screwing it up. If they wanted Flynn as their point guard, they should have just taken him. If they wanted Rubio, they should have taken Rubio and used the sixth pick to improve a different position. Everyone knows you don’t waste your second round pick on Peyton Manning if you just took Tom Brady with your first — you load up at another position. The only bright side for Minny is that in two years at least they’ll have an idea of what Flynn brings to the table and what they need to do in the draft. But that may be giving them too much credit.