SMH 2009 - "Birthday Daggeration"
9.3 The Cooler

How Minnesota can forget about Ricky Rubio (for now)

By 09.03.09
Jonny Flynn

Jonny Flynn

On Wednesday, Ricky Rubio talked about his decision to put the Wolves on his waiting list and stay in Spain: “Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot. It was a risk,” Rubio told the Associated Press, adding that “the deal with Minnesota had too many obstacles.” (Stephon Marbury co-signed on that “complicated my life” part, sending his well wishes from Planet Lovetron.) Come 2011, though, the biggest obstacle standing between Rubio coming to the Wolves might not be his contract buyout, but Jonny Flynn. Now that he’s got the starting PG job, Flynn has as good a shot at anybody at winning Rookie of the Year. Similar to Derrick Rose in Chicago last year, Flynn will get a ton of playing time — his backups are Chucky Atkins and Bobby Brown — and rookie coach Kurt Rambis has no choice but to trust him right off the bat as they grow and learn on the job together … Another rookie walking into a good situation is Terrence Williams. Penciled in as New Jersey’s starting small forward from Day One, Williams been at the team’s practice facility more than the janitor this summer. “At the end of the day, it may be lonely, but you work from 10 (a.m.) to 12:30 with a lift, then from 12:30 to 10 you’re free,” T-Will told the Newark Star-Ledger. “It’s not like college, when you go from 6 in the morning to 7:30, sometimes you don’t get to shower if you have a class at 8. And after class you get done at 2:30 and practice until 5:30, then you try to see the girls. Now, here, you have free time to do whatever.” Terrence can take our word for it: Being right next to New York City, the “whatever” you’ll run into out here will make you forget all about Louisville … But with all due respect to Flynn, T-Will and Stephen Curry, the R.O.Y. is Blake Griffin‘s trophy to lose. Blake threw out the first pitch at last night’s L.A. Dodgers game, tossing a pretty good ball, but he looked weird out there on the diamond. He looked skinnier on TV than we thought he’d look, and at 6-10, was like a right-handed Randy Johnson … There was only one personnel move in the NBA yesterday, with the Hawk signing one of the Collins twins. Does it matter which one? Alright then … The other day our poll asked who was pound-for-pound a better player between John Stockton and Karl Malone. We were a little surprised that Stockton won by such a large margin with the readers, but apparently you all know what you’re talking about. In a recent interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Jerry Sloan said Stockton was the closest thing he’d seen to a “perfect” basketball player, in response to when Bill Belichick called Tedy Bruschi the perfect football player earlier this week. And you know Sloan doesn’t just hand out compliments or get into hyperbole like that on the regular. When he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame next week, Sloan might deliver the shortest HOF speech ever, giving a quick wave and a “Thanks” … Chris Paul or Tony Parker: Who’s better? If you missed the argument yesterday, tell us who you’d pick … Stat lines from Wednesday’s FIBA Americas tournament: Carlos Arroyo had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic, while Charlie Villanueva scored 21, and Al Horford posted 18 points and 10 boards for the losers; Luis Scola‘s 25 points and seven boards led Argentina past Mexico; Warren Green scored 25 to lead Panama over Uruguay; and Leandro Barbosa dumped 31 points (11-16 FG) on Canada as unbeaten Brazil secured their spot in next year’s World Championships …



E-mail from Dime’s Austin Burton: “My girl is in Chicago this week and sent me this (photo to the right). The best part is she didn’t even have to ask if I’d want a picture. My basketball habit is finally rubbing off on her.” … The D-League had its expansion draft for the incoming Springfield Armor and Maine Red Claws franchises. (Springfield should’ve been called the “Isotopes.”) Ex-Mississippi State 7-footer Marcus Campbell was Springfield’s top pick, while James “Flight” White was the first pick for Maine. Some familiar names that got called: Cedric Bozeman, Kedrick Brown, John Lucas III, Eddie Gill, Billy Thomas and Marcus Taylor … Have you been paying attention to what’s going on with the Denver Broncos? After years of quasi-contending but never really being a Super Bowl-caliber squad, they finally fired longtime coach Mike Shanahan this offseason and replaced him with young whippersnapper Josh McDaniels. But now before McDaniels has even coached his first official game, he helped piss off QB Jay Cutler enough to where Cutler demanded (and got) a trade, and WR Brandon Marshall is pulling a classic “I’m gonna act up so much they HAVE to trade me” act that’s about to work in his favor. What’s the NBA equivalent? Let’s say the Hawks have another decent-but-not-great season in ’09-10, then they fire Mike Woodson and bring in a young hotshot like Memphis’ Josh Pastner. But before Pastner can even get the ball rolling, Joe Johnson decides he doesn’t want to be in Atlanta anymore, and then Josh Smith turns into another T.O. trying to force a trade. The sad part? We can actually see that exact scenario happening with the Hawks … It does bring up an interesting question, though: If your team consistently made the NBA playoffs but never really threatened for a championship, would you rather keep things like they are without any major changes, or try a big move to shake things up, even if it means a couple years in the Lottery? … We’re out like Marshall …

TAGSAl HorfordCarlos ArroyoCharlie VillanuevaJames WhiteJERRY SLOANJOE JOHNSONJOHN STOCKTONJonny FlynnJOSH SMITHKARL MALONEkurt rambisleandro barbosaLuis ScolaMichael JordanRANDY JOHNSONRICKY RUBIOSmackSTEPHEN CURRYSTEPHON MARBURYTerrence Williams

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