Minneapolis, Mn (WSAU) The Milwaukee Bucks will play before a big crowd in Minneapolis tonight. That’s because Ricky Rubio will make his long-awaited debut for the Timberwolves in their exhibition opener against the Bucks. Despite the fact that the game doesn’t count – and despite any fan grumblings over the lockout – 13-thousand tickets were sold as of this morning.
Last year, the Wolves only averaged 10-thousand for their pre-season games. The difference appears to be the presence of Rubio, whom the Wolves drafted fifth overall in 2009. After that, there were indications that the flashy point guard did not want to play in Minnesota – and fans got nervous when he had just average numbers last year for Regal Barcelona in his native Spain.
Wolves’ coach Rick Adelman (aa’-dle-man) says he’s heard all the talk about Rubio being a flashy but unselfish point guard – but only a game will tell that. Still, Adelman says Rubio is smart, coachable, and wants to be a real player. Wolves forward Kevin Love says all rookies struggle for a time in the N-B-A – but he says Rubio will eventually “grow by leaps and bounds.”