Ricky Rubio: "It's too early to say if the playoffs are the goal"

Ricky Rubio: "It's too early to say if the playoffs are the goal"


Ricky Rubio: "It's too early to say if the playoffs are the goal"

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Looking forward to the start of training camp?

Ricky Rubio: Looking forward to it, especially because we've added very important pieces to the team and that entire month of practice will help us a lot in order to make the team work.

What was the best move by Minnesota this summer?

RR: There's been a lot of good moves, but (Nikola) Pekovic was a very important piece for us. (Chase) Budinger is a key player for us. Kevin Martin will give us extra scoring punch. He's been with coach (Rick Adelman) for several seasons scoring 20-plus points, which means his system works for him.

What about Corey Brewer?

RR: I like that one too. (Andrei) Kirilenko was taking this team to another level defensively and with him leaving, it's good to have Corey Brewer, who can also give us that.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed last weekend Adelman is going to be with the team this season too. I guess that's good news for you, right?

RR: I'm very happy. I can only say good things about him. He has proved throughout his career that he's a coach that gives confidence to the players and has a system that I personally like very much. It's very entertaining. Coach is demanding, but at the same time empowers you and gives you freedom to make decisions. He's not the yelling type, he uses other ways to teach things and commands a respect that he really has earned.

He was dealing with family issues last season. Did you see differences between Adelman in your first year in Minnesota and the second one?

RR: Well, it's personal issues and that's always going to affect you. But he's been a professional all along and has been around the team all the time he could. You have to be thankful for the effort he was making at times to be with the team.

David Kahn, the general manager that drafted you, left the team this summer. What was your reaction?

RR: He took a gamble on me and I will always be grateful. Now Flip (Saunders), with the moves he's made, is proving he wants to do something big. I had meetings with him in Los Angeles a couple of times and he's really involved in the whole thing.

After proving you belong in the NBA, what are you looking to prove in your third year in the NBA?

RR: Be more consistent if I'm injury-free and really put together an entire season. Also take the team to the next level. Because of many things – namely injuries – we have not been able to be consistent and this season we're going to try to stay healthy to make that leap forward.

Getty ImagesIt's playoffs or bust?

RR: Too early to say if the playoffs are the goal. Let's see how things go in training camp and how the new pieces fit in. Then we'll see how things evolve during the season, it's too early to talk about playoffs.

But the nucleus of the team is very promising, right?

RR: It is. We really want to make it and we will be ambitious, but let's go step by step and let's not set a big goal right now.

Is life good for you off the court in Minneapolis?

RR: I feel at ease there. People is very kind and very welcoming on and off the court. It's a quiet city and I feel very well there.

Why do you think you're such a big attraction in the States?

RR: I don't know (laughs). I like to play flashy. I like to play for the win, but also be an entertainer. You have to mix those things up. Winning is the goal, but so is having fun.

Is Kevin Love a leader?

RR: Yes, it's clear to us. He's a star, but has to help us in the locker room too. He's helped a lot on the court, but he had a tough year because of the injuries he's had and couldn't play. And when a leader is not on the court, that leadership can go unnoticed. But I think he's going to improve in that area. He's going to be the featured player and it's not that we think he's deserving of that status, it's just that he's proved he can do it. But he's a leader that speaks on the court more than off the court.

Is he happy in Minnesota?

RR: Yes, but last year would have been tough for him no matter where he was. You get two injuries in a row when things are starting to look up and it's hard and he probably has learned to enjoy it more when things go well.

Do you see yourself as a leader too or it's harder for a Euro guy to play that role?

RR: That has nothing to do with it. Ever since I was a kid, I had tried to set an example. Not off the court, but on the court putting all my energy for the good of the team. That's what a good leader does.

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