Ricky Rubio intent on becoming 'more aggressive' offensively
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Rick Adelman wasn't the only one who was unhappy after the Timberwolves faltered in an energy lacking preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors last Saturday.
Point guard Ricky Rubio directed blame onto himself, pointing to his lack of aggression offensively as the culprit for the some of the Wolves' preseason lapses.
Rubio's play certainly hasn't warranted him shouldering blame for all of the Wolves' early weaknesses. But his willingness to admit fault is what is driving him in the full week of practice the Wolves have before resuming their final stretch of the preseason, three games in four days, on Sunday against Boston.
Spectacular passes and a remarkable level of unselfishness have defined Rubio's career, but now in his third year with the Wolves, he is trying to balance out that pass-first mentality.
"I have to be more aggressive, sometimes thinking about myself before the others," Rubio said after practice Wednesday. "Like a point guard, I try to get everybody involved, but sometimes that makes me uninvolved on the offensive end of the court, so I have to be more aggressive."
That could set a strong tone for a Wolves offense that is obviously still in search of continuity. In four preseason games, Minnesota has slogged through slow starts, struggling to establish a sense of urgency early on.
Rubio and the Wolves are intent on remedying the issue before they reach their season opener Oct. 30 against the Orlando Magic. It appears Adelman's message, which he vented with clear frustration after the Raptors loss, is starting to take hold.
"Like Coach said, we're not a good, good team yet," Rubio said. "I hope one day that we can have that kind of team, but right now we have to work from Day 1 and try to build the chemistry, especially on defense."
As Rubio knows, finding the needed chemistry will take time with a starting lineup that is still figuring each other out.
It helps that newcomer Kevin Martin has returned to practice after missing nearly a week with a sore Achilles tendon. The Wolves are relying on Martin to be a critical scoring threat, making it key that he and Rubio quickly develop a connection.
Once again reunited, the duo is spending the preseason rediscovering its 2011-12, pre-injury form -- Rubio's rookie year.
"It reminds me of the first year when I came here," Rubio said. "I was playing with Kevin and I had so much fun. He's great. He makes me look good, so that's good for me, good for the team."
• Adelman said Martin has had "no problems" in his two practices back in the Wolves' rotation this week. Martin mentioned Monday he was still experiencing soreness is his right Achilles, but knew the Wolves needed him fully involved with the starting lineup throughout the week of practice.
• The sense of urgency and aggression the Wolves are looking for isn't just limited to the offensive end.
"It's something that we continue to talk about, we have to get our three perimeter people back (on defense) all the time," Adelman said. "A large part of that is Kevin Love, because a lot times he's on the outside taking shots. He has to get back too."