'Goal is team wins,' Ricky Rubio says in impressive media introduction
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Nearly two years to the day after selecting him with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Ricky Rubio was finally introduced as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday morning.
And what an introduction it was.
Sitting onstange alongside a beaming David Kahn, Rubio fielded questions in English, Spanish and Catalan for more than 30 minutes while carrying himself with far more charisma than anyone could expect out of a 20-year-old in a strange new country.
Rubio answered questions about his game with poise, charm and even a slight sense of humor.
His meager statistics in Spain?
"Goal is team wins," he said. "If I wanted to play individual, I'd play tennis or something."
Would he be upset if he doesn't start for the Wolves immediately?
"I want to finish the game," he said.
Why doesn't he score more?
"Many years ago, when I was a kid, I heard I think one of the best sentences ever(from) Magic Johnson," Rubio said. "A basket makes one guy happy. Assist, two guys happy."
And with all the hype, what will appeal to fans coming just to see him?
"I love basketball," Rubio said. "I love to make people like it, love it and I want to try to do it (by) winning the game and make some things spectacular to make them feeling like watching like almost a movie."
Rubio said his ultimate goal with the team is to win an NBA Championship -- "My dream is to get a ring with them," he said -- and Kahn was quick to mention that was a shared dream.
If this was Rubio's first test in the NBA, he passed with flying colors.
And, according to Kahn, all future tests in the NBA will be faced here in Minnesota. When a question was posed about the possibility of trading Rubio, Kahn was quick to jump in.
"Ricky Rubio will not be traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves," Kahn said. "You can go to sleep on that. He's here for a long, long, long time."
One of the biggest tasks for Rubio will be to somehow live up to the hype that has only increased in the 48 hours since he has arrived. When Rubio was asked a question about the pressure facing him, Kahn once again interjected and said it would be a "legitimate concern."
"I think we have to be cognizant of that and let Ricky be a rookie like any other rookie would be," Kahn said.
Rubio said his greatest strength as a player is that he is a true point guard and compared himself to Chris Paul, Rajon Rando and Jason Kidd.
"When I say point guard, I try and make that my teammates feel comfortable," Rubio said. "Like a point guard has to be the coach on the court, like what the coach wants, what the coach needs, I try to do in the court."
Despite his confidence, Rubio is still aware there are aspects of his game that still need work.
"I think that, I don't know, I have to improve in all things, basically," Rubio said. "Maybe in shooting, dribbling, passing, everything."
Rubio's English is still a work in progress but it is something he has been working hard at. He began learning from America teammates at the age of 14. He says he will begin responding to fans on his Twitter account once he is more comfortable writing in English.
Rubio will be in town until next Monday while he continues to meet with sponsors and fans and attends the team's draft party on Thursday night along with teammate Wes Johnson.
Rubio will then head back to Spain where he will take three weeks off where he will run a basketball camp. From there, he will join the Spanish national team for the European Championships on June 26.
The timeline for Rubio's return to Minnesota full-time hinges on the potential lockout. The current collective bargaining agreement expires on July 1.