Ricky Rubio is difficult to defend on the basketball court. As a result, at least according David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff, teams around the NBA have resulted to rule breaking in order to slow him down. I am not sure if they included this particular play pictured below as evidence to their claim or not, but I imagine Rubio did feel this one.
This from a Jerry Zgoda report at the StarTribune:
Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said the team has sent video to the NBA , seeking to call attention to what Kahn and the team’s coaches believe are opponents being overly physical with rookie guard Ricky Rubio.
The team sent many examples of what it deems are fouls never called against defenders who have decided the best way to play the skinny rookie is to muscle him.
“All our young guys are learning that, Ricky especially,” coach Rick Adelman said about opposing defenses adjusting to stop the Wolves’ offense. “They’re putting bigger guys on him…They’re beating the hell out of him right now. The league has figured out you have to be physical with him. And he’s kind of learning on the fly.’’
If you think Rubio’s going to admit as much directly, he’s not. Or at least he’s not going to cry foul. Don’t let his superstar persona fool you, Rubio’s a tough dude too. Here’s what he said when asked about it:
When asked how physical teams are being with him, Rubio chuckled and said, “Tough enough. I mean, it’s close to end of the season, everybody wants to get a spot in the playoff and everybody start to play more physically. You know, it is what it is. We just have to play at the same level or even harder.”
While Rubio, Kevin Love, and the rest of the fellas are working on playing even harder, it’ll be interesting to see what the League has to say about this. If they say anything publicly at least. I imagine they could simply send out an email or Morse code message to the NBA refs asking them to keep an eye on this sort of thing, and we’d never hear about it.
Just thinking out loud here too as I finish typing this out, think about how much more credible David Kahn appears while teamed up with Rick Adelman. If this was last year, or this report wasn’t also linked to the coaching staff too, the headline would read much more sarcastically no matter who was writing it.