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Trade Deadline Impact: Ricky Rubio Injury
Posted By Stephen Litel On March 10, 2012 @ 2:30 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Now that Ricky Rubio has torn his ACL and is out for the remainder of the season—as well as the Olympics—the Minnesota Timberwolves must regroup quickly and make tough decisions. Of course, it is incredibly unfortunate to lose their exciting starting point guard and the incredible skills he brings to the table for his team, this is now an opportunity for many other players to step up.
There were trade rumors surrounding many Timberwolves players as the NBA nears the trade deadline, but Rubio’s injury may change the team’s thinking immediately. Recently, Luke Ridnour’s name has been in a few separate rumors, but with his steady and smart play—as well as the inconsistent health of JJ Barea—Ridnour now becomes incredibly important to Minnesota. Ridnour now must step into the starting point guard role and lead the team on the court. Unless a much better trade comes around than the deals the rumor mills were saying were discussed, Ridnour must remain in a Timberwolves jersey.
While Ridnour is solid and JJ Barea brings a lot of good things to the Timberwolves attack, Minnesota needs to roll with them for the remainder of the season, not make a rash decision and make a relatively unneeded trade. Between Ridnour, Barea and rookie Malcolm Lee, the Timberwolves have plenty of players who can hold down the fort. In a real pinch, Wayne Ellington has spent some time playing point guard for the Timberwolves in the past. Rubio’s injury is unfortunate, but there are other areas to address before the trade deadline.
One thing doesn’t change for Minnesota after the injury and that is they must make a quick decision on Michael Beasley. While there have been numerous teams interested in his services, it sounds as if talks have died down with a few of them. Most recently, it sounds as if the most likely trade partner would be the New Jersey Nets and the main player coming to Minnesota would be Anthony Morrow. If this is the spine of the trade, this is a deal Minnesota should make. Beasley has been playing smarter basketball as of late, but it is arguable he is truly happy with his personal situation in Minnesota. With the uncertainty surrounding Beasley, it may be time for him to move on.
While a great amount of the excitement around the Timberwolves fades with today’s news, there are still many stories to follow throughout the remainder of the season. In recent weeks, Rubio’s fellow rookie Derrick Williams is playing like someone who was worthy of the number two selection in the draft and it will be intriguing to see if he can continue to develop, especially if Beasley is gone before the deadline. JJ Barea adds a lot to the mix for Minnesota, but has been hit with the injury bug quite a lot. Will he be able to play the point guard position, set up teammates, be an offensive threat and do so without missing games the rest of the way? The Timberwolves need him to do so.
Martell Webster is becoming more of a factor for Minnesota as he continues to find his legs after his back surgery, even recently stating he was at 80% and when he hit 100%, the NBA better watch out. Also, Timberwolves fans who have screamed loudly, wanting an extended look at Malcolm Lee will get that chance, as the team has already activated him for tonight’s game against the New Orleans Hornets.
Of course, there is Kevin Love. This is the player who has officially staked his claim as the franchise’s keystone. He is as healthy as possible at this point of the season and is in the midst of a remarkable season and there is no reason to believe that won’t continue. Many fans have jumped on the bandwagon this season and, while a lot of that was due to curiosity over the addition of Rubio, they should have noticed a good basketball team inside the Target Center, not just a singular player bringing everyone in. Curiosity brought them in, but winning and exciting basketball brought them back. Rubio was a big part of that and will be missed, but there is still reason for hope, although slightly diminished.
Understandably, fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves are depressed by today’s news and certainly the players who make up the team’s roster feel the same pain. However, this is a team that has made significant strides in numerous areas and the wheels are not going to completely fall off. The team will continue to fight to achieve that still-obtainable playoff berth, but, of course, it is going to be more of a struggle without Rubio. This is a time when you are happy you have an above average coach on your sideline, who is more than comfortable mixing and matching lineups. Not many expected Rick Adelman to come to Minnesota and have this great of an impact already, but he has. The coach isn’t going to give up on the season and neither are the players. They will continue to push for the playoffs and the fans should continue to support this much-improved team during this difficult time.
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