Wolves Select Ricky Rubio at No. 5
Ricky Rubio, a 6-4 guard from Spain, averaged 10.0 points and 6.1 assists per game for DKV Joventut Badalona (Spain) during the 2008-09 season. In four seasons with DKV Joventut Badalona of the Spanish ACB League, Rubio averaged 7.2 points and 3.3 assists per game. Despite being only 18 years old, Rubio has been playing professionally for four years, having joined DKV at the age of 14 years, 11 months and 24 days -- the youngest player to ever compete in an ACB game.
Rubio won FIBA Europe's Young Player of the Year award in 2007 and 2008, honoring him as the top player in Europe under the age of 22. He was selected ACB Ideal Quintet (first team all-league) in 2007-08. This past season, Rubio was named ACB Defensive Player of the Year. A member of the Spanish National Team, Rubio competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, helping Spain win a silver medal.
Kahn on whether Rubio's contract situation will be resolved in time for him to play this season:
"I'm neither confident nor not confident, partly because there really wasn't a scenario until the last three or four days, and frankly even until today, that I felt that this was even in the realm of possibilities. I just never thought he'd be there. I did have a couple of long discussions today with his agent, Dan Fegan, and obviously Dan has been handling this matter as best he can and I'm certain that over the next several days we will learn more."
Kahn on his stance on Rubio playing for the Wolves next season:
"Not very hard at all in the sense that nobody here tonight, myself especially, will be banging their fists on a table saying he must be here. It's a very complicated matter. What I assured Dan today on two separate occasions is that our interests are now aligned. We would work in a cooperative, collaborative way to do what's best for our team and for Ricky. Since this all came rather suddenly, and because Dan has other players, it's a very finite amount of time you have on a day like today. Again, we will work harmoniously. Dan is a very tenacious agent, and Ricky is very lucky to have him. Dan's reputation in this league is long and, I dare say, storied in the sense that he's a fierce advocate for his clients and he has their best interests at heart."
Kahn on whether the Rubio-Flynn backcourt can work:
"Like I said, Jerry, I think there have been many instances where it's not so neat. Here's another one: neither of these guys are Michael Jordan, I can tell you that. But Michael Jordan played with John Paxson in the backcourt. Paxson was the shooting guard at about six-foot, Michael Jordan was Michael Jordan. All I'm saying is that I felt very strongly that for our team, these were by far the two best choices we could make tonight."
Kahn on the fans reactions to drafting Rubio:
"Sure, of course. I understand that it's been hard here for a few years. And it may be hard still. I wish I had some way to tell you that next year we're on our way, but we're a work in progress, very much so. However, I think we've added already three pieces tonight that are very exciting pieces for the future."
Kahn on Rubio and Flynn's shooting abilities:
"I read all the pronouncements. Can't shoot, can't do this, can't do that. They are 18 and 20 years old. We all fall into the trap, and I'm as guilty as the next person that these kids are so young. Especially Jonny, his shot looks great. I think Jonny will be a fine shooter at this level. And I think Ricky Rubio is simply special. I don't know how to define it. I'm not even talking about the fancy passing. I was talking to another league executive this week about him. He just has a feel for the rhythm and tempo of the game. He really is like a conductor of an orchestra. And for a kid to be doing this at this age, I can't tell you how remarkable this is. One of the tapes I've been watching the past few days is the gold medal game between the USA and Spain. It's not what he does, it's when you look at the tape he looks like he belongs out there. This kid was 17, playing against our very best professionals and if you watch the tape, you never look up and say 'who's this young kid out there with those guys?' I can't describe it. I've never seen such a thing. Again, I need to be careful tonight. This is not the night for a hyperbole. These kids are so young, and the last thing we need is to put these incredible expectations on them and have everyone fired up. These kids aren't ready. Ricky might not know this, there will be an adjustment from Europe to the NBA."
Kahn on whether it is a possibility Rubio does not come to Minnesota:
"We need to understand that we are not in control of the situation vis-a-vis the buyout. There's only so much we can participate under NBA rules. I think it's too early to worry about that. Now, we understand and I said it earlier and to the agent tonight, if any team in the league can afford to wait a year, dare I say two, it's us. I don't want people to think that we're carefree and that we won't compete like terriers next year. If there's ever a team that can afford to be a little bit patient given where Kevin, Al, Jonny, Ryan, and Corey's ages are and some of the other core pieces, it's us. This group can really grow and blossom if things work out well and that's the hope."
Kahn on whether there will be a buyout or destination problem with Rubio:
"I don't think its a destination problem. I really don't. I believe he would have been more than happy to play in Oklahoma City, and with all due respect to Oklahoma City, (silence). And I will say this, yes it's cold here. I told this to Dan Fegan, and I will say this personally to Ricky when I have the opportunity, it's cold in Detroit, Toronto, Chicago, Milwaukee, and by the way it's pretty cold in Oklahoma City in the winter. I've seen a couple of ice storms in Tulsa. Here's one difference. We're in the Western Conference. We get to go to L.A. for four games. We go to Phoenix twice, to Texas and play those teams. We leave. And I told them today, in the offseason, we don't have any restrictions on where he works on his game in the offseason, provided he works on his game. If he wants to work on his game back in Spain, we'll send a coach and staff and help him work on his game in Spain. We'd do that for any player by the way, that's not about Ricky. But we're in the player development business and we have to be mindful that we live in a different world than the NBA was 15 years ago."