Heading into yesterday, we knew that the official announcement from Ricky Rubio that he is coming to the NBA was going to happen on Friday. After all of the speculation, all of the conjecture, all the back and forth from “experts” in every medium, we finally got to hear from Rubio himself. After confirming that he is indeed heading Stateside, he admitted that his most recent season in Europe was less than stellar (just 5.3 ppg for Barcelona this past season). “I have to improve a lot as a player now,” he told reporters. “I have to gain weight because the game in NBA is harder. Next week I will be in Minnesota for the official presentation.” Apparently Rubio’s significant slide in production, strength issues and everything else aren’t going to phase T-Wolves president David Kahn. “A lot of attention is paid to his numbers without really an understanding of how different their game is and their style of play,” Kahn said. “Especially with the Barcelona team, which plays a very halfcourt-oriented game that frankly isn’t very suitable for his style.” Bottom line is that no one will know what Rubio can do (if anything) on an NBA floor until he’s actually on an NBA floor … The Denver Nuggets are officially making Danilo Gallinari their go-to, lead offensive weapon. The Denver Post reported yesterday that George Karl and other staffers were recently in Italy to meet with Gallo and to put a new offseason workout regimen in place to physically get him to where he can shoulder the burden of being their offensive cornerstone. “He’s not going to get into the Melo numbers, but I think he’s going to take a step forward next year,” Karl told the paper about his vision for Gallinari. “He averaged 15? I think the step would be 18 or something like that.” With a full camp with the Nuggets under his belt, 18 ppg seem pretty attainable … While we’re talking about foreign-born NBA players, both of these guys have tough acts to follow … In yesterday’s Smack, we discussed the fact that Jimmer Fredette‘s draft stock appears to be rising by the day. Now there’s confirmation. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Jimmer has officially received a green room invite to Thursday night’s draft in Newark, so at least one team is pretty sure they’re gonna take him with one of the top picks. Phoenix at No. 13? Jimmer seems tailor-made to run up and down with the Suns, getting open looks from Steve Nash … In L.A. today? Go check out the opening U.S. event of the Red Bull King of the Rock tour at the Venice Beach courts. 64 players will battle it out in a 1-on-1 tournament, with the top two finishers winning a trip to San Francisco to compete in the championship tournament on Alcatraz Island. Whether you want to play in the tourney today or just go to check out some elite basketball, GO HERE for info … We’re out like Rubio’s numbers.
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