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Timberwolves frustrated with physical play against Rubio

Mar 7, 2012, 1:12 PM EDT

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio shoots a free throw during their NBA game against Los Angeles Clippers Reuters

Welcome to the NBA, Ricky Rubio.

And welcome to having good players again, Minnesota Timberwolves.

When you have a good player like Rubio, other teams will target him and do what they can to knock him off his game. Literally, if they can. Other teams are finding that when Rubio has space he picks them apart so they are trying to take that space away from him and be physical with the thin rookie.

And the Timberwolves think it has gotten out of hand, reports Jerry Zgoda at the Star-Tribune.


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….

“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.’’

Ricky Rubio and Blake Griffin can form their own “hey, stop being mean to us” club.

Look, this is the game in the NBA — other teams have found what they think is the best way to stop Rubio and the rookie isn’t getting a lot of borderline calls. There’s not a lot of sympathy here. In the NBA other teams will adjust to you and your weaknesses, what matters is how you adjust back. It’s like a young baseball pitcher called up from the minor leagues — he might have some early success, but once teams get a look at his stuff hitters will adjust. Then it is on him to make the next adjustment to keep hitters off balance.

Rubio, it’s your move.

  1. pacific123ocean - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM


    You are way off base on “hey, stop being mean to us”. Ricky is not complaining at all…this is coming from David Kahn and the coaches. I get the feeling Ricky knows he needs to make adjustments, and has work to do to become a better player.

    Kevin Love does a lot more complaining about officiating that Ricky Rubio.

    • lblock07 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Thank you, pacific123ocean. As you said this is coming from the coaches, not Ricky. Ricky has been on championship caliber teams at every stage of his professional career until this year, so he knows what it takes and what he has to do to persevere through tough times. And I’d have to add that if Rick Adelman, one of the all time winning-est coaches, a future HoFer who’s been at it for over 25 years, thinks that it is necessary to send this footage to the league office then it truly must be a legitimate concern for him. Don’t you think he has seen an aggressive defensive approach or two before? The kid is getting hacked, pulled, and what have you, but he keeps on playing through it. He rarely complains.

  2. redbullenergydrink - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Ricky, work on your jump shot, please! Once you get a jumper, the sky’s the limit!

  3. Justin - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    If you went on to read the whole article Rubio goes on to say that this is nothing he hasn’t experience before.

    “I asked if he has seen this all before from all those pro seasons he played in Europe or if this is physical play at a different level for him.
    ‘No, in Europe we play aggressive, too,” he said. “But here you have the best players in the world. It’s tougher.'”

    Coaches or GMs sending videos like this is pretty commonplace in the NBA. No one is making excuses. Not like watching Chris Paul go whiney after every “missed” call when we played them.

  4. lameasish - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I can only laugh when anyone suggests that the NBA can be tough.

    • franbotel - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Says the Internet tough guy

  5. thegrey7 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    It’s not just that Rubio is getting played physical. It’s that he’s getting seriously mugged and beat up compared to other players in the NBA.

    I don’t have a problem with tough play. I have a problem with tough play that is inconsistently called by the refs.

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      So in essence, the NBA has it out for Rubio. They are purposely letting defenders man-handle him? Give me a freakin break!! Like Cowherd said, Ricky is nothing but elbows, pimples and hair. Grow some balls and learn to be physical. Or you can send tapes to the NBA offices and hope they feel pity for you…


  6. dcviking - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Doesn’t matter what the article says — it’s chance to bash the Twolves, so game on…

    • getadealdonealready - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      enjoy while you can, the time of bashing the wolves is drawing to a close in the near future

  7. sbxxix - Mar 7, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I wonder if Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and D. Wade would get those calls… If they didn’t, I wonder how they would react. Ricky will only have to put up with this for another season at least. Once he gets his super star bubble this will be over

    • vikingsinla - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      The “star treatment” the refs afford to certain NBA players is precisely why the league earns its comparisons to Professional Wrestling.

  8. plum13sec - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    This guy is the future all star of the point guard position. Spain already knew he would be. And now the US knows as well.

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