Minnesota Timberwolves were thought of to be a playoff contender. Even though T-Wolves finished last season out of the playoffs with a 31-51 record, the building blocks looked to be in place for the team to make a run at one of the lower seeds in the tough Western Conference.
With All-Star Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio the team has a young core to put other pieces around them. The T-Wolves drafted Shabazz Muhammad out of UCLA and signed gunner Kevin Martin in free agency. Things looked somewhat promising as the team looked competitive. But the team has stumbled to three straight losses and coach Rick Adelman blasting the team for poor play it looks like the season might be slipping away.
Add in the fact that Ricky Rubio says basketball isn't fun for him anymore, the Timberwolves could be headed back to lotteryland instead of the playoffs.
Rubio is struggling with his shot and turnovers so it could be the feeling that his game is falling apart as the losses mount. It could be Rubio speaking from emotion. I have a feeling that it's a combination and he's feeling a little frustrated right now.
''I'm going to be honest. I'm not feeling comfortable out there,'' Rubio told The Associated Press after a light practice on Thursday. ''I'm not being myself and the team is noticing. I just have to be back where I was, be myself. I'm working on that. It's something that's missing. It's tough for me, too.''
''It's basketball. I love it,'' Rubio said. ''But I'm just not having as much fun as it used to be. I know it has to be professional. But I just want to have fun. It's hard to find it right now.''
Rubio is shooting 34.6 percent and averaging 8.6 points. Both are career lows for the free wheeling Spaniard. Rubio was never a great shooter to begin with and his game is more Jason Williams than Stephen Curry.
Adelman feels Rubio gets down on himself too much when he has a bad game or after losses.
''He gets really down on himself too much,'' Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. ''I think he's just got to play and make the real easy play. It doesn't have to be a great play. When something doesn't happen for him, he tries so hard that he just kind of compounds it.
''So I think he's going to be fine. He's going to come out of it. He didn't play well last night, but he's not the Lone Ranger in that regard.''
If the Timberwolves are to make a run at a playoff spot they need Rubio to be at his best and start having fun again, because Love can't carry this team by himself.