With all the hype about Timberwolves 2009 first round draft pick Rick Rubio, it’s easy to forget the team’s most seasoned veteran Luke Ridnour. Ridnour will be a key influence in mentoring Rubio on NBA point guard play. The Timberwolves new “R&R Brothers” will need to both understand their roles, and understand what it is store for both of them. Ridnour is entering the back end of his career, and will eventually most likely become a valuable veteran backup point guard in the league over the next 5-6 years. Ideally, Rubio will emerge as the franchise point guard sometime in the next 1-2 years.
This situation could play out well for the Timberwolves. A steady (but not too good where you can’t easily replace him) and respectable Ridnour holds down the fort while providing a good example for the young Rubio along the way. Is David Kahn’s mad scientist experiment actually paying off? At the time that Ridnour was signed, the Timberwolves already had Ramon Sessions and Johnny Flynn (Rubio was also stashed away at the time in Europe). The Timberwolves fan base was left a bit baffled as to why the team would sign ANOTHER point guard. But, Kahn quickly shipped away Sessions and then eventually Flynn as well this past offseason.
The combination of Ridnour and Rubio might work better than you think. Ridnour’s best strength is his shooting ability, while Rubio clearly has the ability to set up his teammates. Luke does have some flair in his game too, and the two really might be able to influence each other.
My prediction for this season: Ridnour and Rubio end up splitting minutes most of the time. The question will be who gets the crunch time minutes? Will Rubio show enough to be ready to be on the floor when the game counts? Most likely he will only do this only a handful of times this season. There is no doubt that the pressure will be on the Timberwolves to have Rubio starting by next season. I believe Ridnour will accept his new role as he always has throughout his career. What was once a disastrous point guard situation for Timberwolves now looks to be shaping up nicely. Where would we be without this genius David Kahn?!?