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Knott: This pick may leave Minnesota out in cold

- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2009

Ricky Rubio is dropping the Danny Ferry card on the Timberwolves, balking at the idea of playing in the Land of 10,000 Frozen Lakes.

"It's too cold," he said after checking out his Doppler radar.

It is too icy and snowy in Minnesota, too.

Ferry liked the weather in Los Angeles, just not the Clippers. He wound up in Italy instead.

Rubio is either the next Pete Maravich or Jason Williams, and gosh, the latter fate would be truly spectacular, given all the hype enveloping the 18-year-old point guard from Spain.

Rubio prefers the no-look flashy pass to the fundamentally sound one, which puts him in the family of Williams, the erstwhile White Chocolate who often made good on his threat to throw a perfect pass to the spectators sitting courtside.

It took Williams years to break this bad habit, and it undoubtedly took a few years off his coaches' life spans.

David Kahn awarded two shooters to the Wizards to land the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft.

That pick turned out to be Rubio, and the Wizards can be thankful they were not put in the position to resist temptation.

Rubio might have found the District to be too politically gaseous and threatened to keep his basketball gear in Spain. That is his threat to the Timberwolves, dispensed just before blowing off the team's news conference that unveiled its newcomers.

Kahn, the general manager who should remove Ernie Grunfeld's name from his Rolodex, picked Rubio and then Jonny Flynn, the point guard who is missing an "h" from his first name.

Just to be safe, Kahn picked two more point guards, Ty Lawson and Nick Calathes, before doing the math and coming to the conclusion that Lawson and Calathes were two too many point guards.

This fixation with point guards baffled draft analysts.

Kevin Love, too.

He wrote on his Twitter page: "What are we doing?"

Besides giving away shooters and drafting point guards, no one can be sure.

Rubio figures he can stay in Spain the next season or two and wait out a trade.

That is preferable to being stranded in a blizzard in Minneapolis, which lost the Lakers long before it lost Kevin Garnett.

Rubio has drawn comparisons to Maravich because of the behind-the-back pass that occasionally finds its intended target and the floppy dark hair.

Not that a copious amount of hair, dark or otherwise, is useful to a basketball player.

Rubio is neither a highly skilled shooter nor physically imposing.

The notion that the Wizards might one day rue the lost opportunity of Rubio suggests he is destined to be a star and that the foundation of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison should have been sacrificed.

Arenas, Butler and Jamison do not have three or four seasons to wait on Rubio or anyone else, and really, the fan base is tired of all the waiting anyway.

If the objective before the Wizards is to win now - and it should be - then surround Arenas, Butler and Jamison with the pieces that will allow them to thrive and be done with it. That was Grunfeld's motivation in the days leading up to the NBA Draft.

So it is the beleaguered Kahn who is being held hostage by an 18-year-old weatherman.

"We will put no pressure whatsoever on Ricky or his family or his agent during this process," Kahn said of Rubio's no-show at the introductory news conference.

That is awfully kind of Kahn, considering the pressure he is under after dismissing Kevin McHale, sending a care package to the Wizards and drafting Rubio and Flynn, who are scratching their heads at the thought of being paired together.

They are not the only ones.

Rubio can't shoot, and the diminutive Flynn can't grow.

Maybe Grunfeld should telephone Kahn to see whether there is anything he can do to help.