Flynn would welcome RubioWhen Ricky Rubio told the Minnesota Timberwolves that he would not be coming to the NBA this year, fellow rookie Jonny Flynn instantly gained a lot more playing time. Drafted right behind Rubio in June, Flynn expected to share time at point guard with the Spanish 18-year-old besides playing alongside him occasionally in a small and quick backcourt.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Ricky Rubio told the Minnesota Timberwolves that he would not be coming to the NBA this year, fellow rookie Jonny Flynn instantly gained a lot more playing time.
Drafted right behind Rubio in June, Flynn expected to share time at point guard with the Spanish 18-year-old besides playing alongside him occasionally in a small and quick backcourt.
As disappointed as the Timberwolves are that Rubio will be staying in Spain for at least the next two seasons, Flynn had to be pleased with the side benefits, right? Not so fast.
“Especially for a guy like me, he can make me so much better,” Flynn told The Associated Press. “I would have sat here and learned from him. I would have taken things out of his game and put them into my game.
“You definitely lose something that could have made our team better. But that’s the decision he made and I guess we’re just going to have to wait for maybe two years until he comes over here.”
Timberwolves president David Kahn heard some criticism on draft night when he took two point guards in a row at selection Nos. 5 and 6. Kahn said the rebuilding team was more than just one or two players away from being competitive, so he took what he viewed as the two best players available, regardless of position.
He also spoke of a vision for a backcourt of the future that included two versatile athletes who could rotate between point and shooting guard in an up-tempo system.
In the NBA, as much as any sport, ego can get in the way of a plan that calls for sharing minutes. But Flynn has insisted from the start that he wants Rubio here as soon as possible.
“I just look forward to coming in and contributing,” Flynn said. “Even if Ricky was here, we both would have been playing a lot of minutes together.”
The Timberwolves thought they had a deal done to bring Rubio to Minnesota this fall, but the teenager backed out at the last minute and instead will spend the next two years continuing to play professionally in Spain.
Rather than viewing Rubio as competition, Flynn said he sees Rubio’s four years of playing in the top pro league in Europe, along with his experience in the Olympics with the Spanish national team, as resources to be tapped.
Even though he was disheartened by Rubio’s decision to stay home, Kahn quickly came up with Plan B. He signed Milwaukee free agent point guard Ramon Sessions to a four-year deal earlier this month, replenishing the team’s point guard depth.
Flynn may have played 67 of 70 minutes for Syracuse in that epic, six-overtime victory over Connecticut in the Big East tournament, but even he knows he’ll need some help in his first season in the NBA.
Sessions also played some shooting guard for the Bucks last year after Michael Redd went down with a knee injury, “so it’s almost like Ricky is here,” Flynn said.
“To have another point guard who has a game similar to mine is definitely going to benefit,” he said.