Minnesota Timberwolves: What each 2020 draft night addition brings to the Wolves

Ricky Rubio is one of the newest members of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio is one of the newest members of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio is back with the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 Draft Day Addition: Ricky Rubio

Trading for Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio was brought back to the Timberwolves via a draft-night trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Timberwolves traded the No. 17 overall selection in the 2020 draft (which became Aleksej Pokusevski) and James Johnson for Ricky Rubio and the No. 25 and No. 28 picks. Of course, Rubio spent the first six years of his career with the Wolves.

2020 Per-Game Stats

  • Games Played: 65
  • Points: 13.0
  • FG percentage: 41.5
  • 3-point percentage: 36.1
  • Rebounds: 4.7
  • Assists: 8.8

Short-Term Outlook

In the immediate future, Rubio looks to play a key role for the Timberwolves not only as a potential starter, but also as a key veteran presence.

Rubio isn’t guaranteed to start, but it is likely. For his career, Rubio has started 542 of 563 total NBA games. If Rubio is inserted as a starter, it’s fair to expect a non-conventional system in which both Rubio and Russell could bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense.

Rubio is coming off the best shooting season of his career highs in both 3-point and field goal percentage. That’s important, while his role on this Timberwolves team will be geared heavily towards playmaking and the defensive end of the floor.

Rubio is a solid defender, which will help offset D’Angelo Russell‘s biggest weakness. His contribution on this Minnesota team could actually be more important than any time in his first stint where. At that time, there was something of a need for scoring.

Now, he will be able to play the role that he is naturally best suited to fill which should only assist in setting up key contributors such as D-Lo, KAT, and Edwards.

Long-Term Outlook

The long-term outlook is a bit more gray. Rubio has tw seasons remaining on his day. By the end of the 2021-22 season, it’s quite possible that Rubio will no longer be in the Wolves plans as he will be trending towards age 33, and Russell is obviously the Wolves’ point guard of the next four seasons.

The key role in both the short and perhaps long-term will be the locker room leadership he brings. His roles on both new teams greatly improved the young shooting guards he played with (Devin Booker in Phoenix and Donovan Mitchell in Utah).

This contribution will be the main one to determine how long his 2nd stint in Minnesota will be.

2021 Expectations

Rubio will likely start for the Timberwolves alongside D’Angelo Russell. He won’t score much, but the Wolves have Towns, Russell, and Edwards on board to do that. We can expect his assist numbers, on the other hand, to look similar to what we’re all used to seeing.

His most important contribution will come on the defensive side of things, as well as his locker room impact. If he can bring the tough mentality we saw in his playoff stint with Utah and bring that team-first mentality to the young guns on the roster, then this trade could be much more valuable than it is being made out to be in some circles.