The Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t made the playoffs since Kevin Garnett was the league MVP back in the 2003-04 season. Even when Kevin Love was dropping ridiculous double-doubles, the Timberwolves still could not sniff the postseason. Now, Ricky Rubio is going to be entering his sixth season in the NBA next year, and he has yet to make the playoffs either. So, since this coming season is the second-to-last last year on his contract, he had some things on his mind about the playoffs. Via ESPN (H/T DefPen):
“When I arrived to Minnesota, my hope was to break the seven years’ streak without [a] presence in [the] playoffs. I still have that hope, but it’s very tough mentally when year after year that goal is not met,” Rubio said.
“Next season will be crucial for me. I’ve been in the NBA for five years, and six years without playoffs would be a long time. At 26, I’d have to start thinking about teams that can get to the playoffs and win in the Finals.”
Since Rubio might be thinking about asking for a trade after this coming season, the Timberwolves might be thinking of listening to some deals if anyone wants to make an offer. So, here are some of the teams that should be calling.
We all saw what happened this season when the Rockets tried to put Ty Lawson, a guy who needed the ball in his hands, alongside James Harden. Lawson was a player who was able to light up the scoreboard when needed while he was still with Denver, and he was accustomed to being the primary ball-handler. The biggest problem when playing alongside Harden is that if you can’t play defense, then it’s not going to work. That’s where Rubio would shine. Rubio is sort of a more improved version of Patrick Beverly who can keep the ball moving around the court and find the right guy at the right time. Rubio doesn’t need to score all the time to be happy, and he is averaging right around two steals per game for his career so far. Not only would he be a nice fit with Harden in the backcourt and Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense, but he’d also address a need in the Rockets defense.
The Mavericks are a very…experienced…team. Sure we could call them old, but I like to at least be somewhat nice about it. Dirk Nowitzki looks to be entering, if not his final, one of his final seasons, and the likes of Raymond Felton, Deron Williams, Devin Harris, J.J. Barea, and Zaza Pachulia are all in their thirties. This offseason, one of the main focuses for the Mavericks should be to get some younger players who can contribute right away. Obviously, this kind of goal could be met by acquiring Ricky Rubio. Rubio is only 25, going on 26, and he would fit nicely alongside Dirk, Wes Matthews, and Chandler Parsons. Plus, they would get a good playmaking point guard who doesn’t have anywhere near the ego of Rajon Rondo, which would make things in the locker room a little less hectic too.
Ricky Rubio instead of Kyrie Irving?! Surely I’m just crazy, right??? Well…
Regular & postseason NetRtg (per @nbawowy)
James, Irving & Love w/o Delly & Thompson: -4.4
James, Delly & Thompson w/o Love & Irving: +7.9
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) June 6, 2016
Yes, I know that the second group of three plays some more second units, but the lack of defense from both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving is very noticeable. While tearing through the Eastern Conference in the postseason, Irving wasn’t exactly tested defensively until they met the Raptors. Even then, with Kyle Lowry in the midst of a humongous struggle from the field, Irving wasn’t exactly doing much to slow Lowry down. Enter Ricky Rubio. Now, here’s a point guard that can get the whole team involved and relieve LeBron of his point guard duties for a while at a time so he can work off the ball. On top of that, Rubio brings a much better defensive game to the table. I’m not saying he could shut down Stephen Curry, but I do whole-heartedly believe that he would have done a much better job on Livingston in Game 1.