Reminiscing With Ratke

I decided to do things a little different this week. Instead of coming up with ideas myself (because, you know, I’m lazy), I decided to steal two ideas from some readers on Twitter. If you ever have topics or suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Imaginary readers are known to make appearances in this column from time to time. These are actual readers. I know, I’m shocked too. People actually read this.

Before we advance to this week’s topics, I’ll give you a fun fact. Previous to last week, I had been to two concerts: a Jason Aldean concert last year at the Xcel Energy Center and a Lonestar concert in my hometown last summer (Mark Remme was super jealous).

Last Saturday, I attended the Jay-Z concert. Tomorrow I am going to the Drake concert. I’m not a big music guy. In fact, I feel uncomfortable at times. I don’t know how to sing. I am the world’s worst dancer.Do I sway to the lyrics? Do I put my phone in the air if I don’t have a lighter? Do people still do that lighter thing? Is there a bathroom break? I already feel uncomfortable.

v So, if your day is in the dumps tomorrow for some reason, just think of Ratke sitting 30 rows up watching Drake with sweaty hands, not having any idea what to do.

Rant over. Let’s get this party started.

“Ricky Rubio: overrated, underrated or properly rated?” - @JustinPinott

Who is rating him?

This is such a difficult question and is one of my biggest pet peeves in sports (no offense Justin).

We have to rate everything. Everything has to have a label. If you’re in a relationship, it needs to be on Facebook. A player can’t be unknown. We have to have a “top-5” or All-Star label on him. A restaurant has to be a “5 Star” restaurant. A team needs to be in the top-25 to be considered good. The list goes on.

Rubio is still learning. He’s averaging 8.7 points, 8.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and three steals per game. Those numbers are pretty average. Rubio’s shooting has been a cause for concern in his career and he’s shooting just 36.9 percent from the field. If you look at his shot chart, it isn’t pretty. From the right-side center 3-point, center 3-point and 8-16 feet on the right side, he’s an above-average shooter.

That’s good.

What’s bad is that he has just 17 attempted shots from those spots, so it’s a pretty small sample size.

Rubio has improved his 3-point shooting, shooting 36.1 percent from the deep. Again, though, he’s attempted just 36 3-point shots.

He does deserve credit, though. After every practice I’ve been at this season, Rubio has been the last one on the court, shooting 3-pointers with the help of the team’s assistants. I am pretty sure one week he made something of like 45 of 50 3-pointers. I get that he’s wide open when he’s taking these, but still, he’s showing that he wants to improve. That’s important.

He’s young, so there’s no reason to say he won’t.Take a look at Jason Kidd’s career. It’s just not fair to give him an exact label quite yet. He’s a fantastic passer. A great ball handler. A poor shooter. A player who is still learning how to play in the NBA.

I’m not sure exactly where that rates him, but that’s all I’ve got.

“Will Chase Budinger help push the Wolves up a level above their current .500 record? Or will it not make a big impact?” - @SamFredable

I think the answer is obvious. With a bench lacking luster (do people say that?), whether or not Budinger is moved into the starting lineup or whether or not Corey Brewer stays there doesn’t make much of a difference. Both players will improve the second unit. Adelman will decide on whoever fits best with the starting 5. With the trade for Luc Mbah a Moute, I would imagine Brewer will remain a starter, while Budinger comes in with a second unit of Barea, Luc, Dante and when healthy, Ronny Turiaf.

That sounds like a real rotation!

Last season, in just 23 games, Budinger averaged 9.4 points and he is a career 35.8% 3-point shooter, 43% from the field and 80.4% free-throw shooter. He’s averaged about three wins per year for his team during his career.

How does that compare to Minnesota’s averages this season?

They actually are pretty average compared to Minnesota’s numbers. “Average” might not be what you’re looking for, but when he’s averaging numbers similar to Minnesota’s starters (who are playing the majority of the minutes for Minnesota), that’s pretty good.

On the season, Minnesota is shooting 42.9 percent from the field, 32.8 percent from the 3-point line and 80.5 percent from the free-throw line.

The real question here is when will Budinger return and what type of player will he be? After watching him shoot around a bit last week, it’s obvious he hasn’t lost his shot. Any offensive production Budinger can give to the second unit will be a positive. ESPN1500’s Nate Sandell told us yesterday at practice that he saw Budinger dunk. I did not see this, but I’ll trust good ol’ Nate-Dawg.

No day on the calendar has been circled for Budinger, but if the Wolves can stay around .500 after that brutal November until the return of Budinger and Turiaf, they should be able to turn the corner.

Mexico City… What Could Have Been

The Spurs and Wolves have 17 combined international players, making both teams perfect candidates to play in Mexico City on Wednesday. By now, you know the story. And likely saw the smoke in the Mexico City Arena on Fox Sports North.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in the matter. Unfortunately, the fans of Mexico City were unable to watch a highly-anticipated game. The players arrived on Monday to take part in clinics, volunteer events and get to know some of the fans. Barea said he felt like he was back in the playoffs with the Mavericks because of all the attention the players were getting from the fans and media.

While there wasn’t a game, it wasn’t the complete worst thing. The fans and players were at least able to interact a bit and for the Wolves (17 games in the month of November), five days off before the Miami game wasn’t exactly the worst thing.

The Wolves will aim for .500 tonight against the Miami Heat. They will have to do so without Kevin Love. Hope to see you at the game tonight.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got. Have a great weekend.