Five NBA Players Who Will Thrive in New Roles This Season

2 of 6

Apr 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard

Ricky Rubio

(9) dribbles against the Utah Jazz at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio

Last Season’s Stats:

82 Games Played

Per Game Averages: 32.2 MIN,  9.5 PTS, 8.6 AST, 4.2 REB

Overall Field Goal Percentage: 38.1 (3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 33.1)

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In an OT thriller, Team Canada snatches Bronze from Team USA
In an OT thriller, Team Canada snatches Bronze from Team USA /

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  • What’s Changed?

    How about the whole roster? The Kevin Love era is over in Minnesota and while many expect this team to struggle – again – there’s a reason for optimism amongst the Timberwolves faithful. Trading Love yielded young, potential talent including Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennet (who seems improved from his rookie season where he seemed assured of being branded a bust) and Thaddeus Young, suddenly the veteran leader on this team. Add high-flying rookie Zach LaVine, and this exciting core could be the key to long-term success in the Minnesota.

    How Does He Respond?

    Entering his fourth year in the NBA (while still only 23 years old), Rubio will face life in the NBA without an established All-Star caliber player on the roster to lighten the load and take the heat for your team’s lack of success. And while Young may be longer-tenured, Rubio will be the leader of this team by default. Look for him to take on a role similar to his on the Spanish national team; the constant play-maker. While this young group finds its NBA comfort zone, Rubio’s sensational passing will be the driving force. Eager to get his teammates going, Rubio’s assist numbers will increase and his shooting, a longtime weakness, will reach more acceptable levels.