Well before he was picked with the fifth selection in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the hype surrounding Spanish wunderkind Ricky Rubio.
While Rubio opted to stay overseas for what would have been his rookie season last year , the 20-year-old point guard signed with the Wolves in early June and will be stateside once the NBA season commences.
Because of the hype, Rubio will likely have a lot of pressure starting on opening day and he’s already looked at as a future franchise cornerstone by the Wolves front office.
Fortunately for Rubio, the Timberwolves hired Rick Adelman, a coach known for molding young point guards.
The first point guard Adelman worked with in his coaching career was former Suns coach and Trailblazers guard Terry Porter, who told ESPN’s Ric Bucher that Adelman won’t overload Rubio.
“Rick is going to be able to talk to Ricky about his experiences with me,” said Porter. “He worked with me a lot on my shot. But until we got that down, he told me to play from a couple points of strength, things he knew I could do well. He won’t overload him with a system, he’ll just let him focus on a few things.”
While Porter is the only point guard Adelman has ever developed who reached All-Star status, Adelman has never exactly been given a prototype. Porter actually was a scoring swingman at tiny University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with limited shooting range. Mike Bibby, who played for five seasons under Adelman in Sacramento, statistically dipped under Adelman after he arrived from Memphis but became twice the player when it came to winning games.
Aside from Porter, Adelman is known for working well with Jason Williams and Mike Bibby in Sacramento. In Houston, Adelman turned a late first round draft selection into a player that was on the cusp of being an All-Star. Once Brooks was traded to Phoenix, he took Kyle Lowry, a backup in Memphis and made him a starter in Houston, where he averaged career highs in scoring, assists and rebounds.
Adelman, who played point guard in the NBA for seven years, says he has a different approach for every point guard he coaches.
“I’m different from some other coaches,” Adelman said. “They believe you have to be harder on them and demand certain things. I feel the opposite. I think you have to give them rope and let them find their way a little bit. They’re all different and they all have different strengths. I don’t think you can say, ‘This is how you have to play.’ I usually give them a lot of freedom and I see this situation as being the same thing.”
Porter says Adelman’s experience as a point guard and his coaching approach will be “huge” for Rubio.
After a sub-par season overseas and the anticipation brewing to finally see him in a Timberwolves uniform, Rubio has his work cut out for him, but it appears Adelman could certainly make his transition to the NBA a little smoother.