With Ricky Rubio’s return to Minnesota, what’s familiar is also different

Back on his old stomping grounds, much is familiar for Ricky Rubio in Minnesota.

The veteran point guard, re-acquired by the Timberwolves in a draft-night trade after three years spend away from the organization that drafted him, knows Minneapolis well. Many of the faces and places are ones he got to know during his previous Timberwolves’ tenure.

This is a place, and a fan base, that’s always welcomed him as one of its own, and supported him throughout his career.

“I feel like I belong here,” Rubio said, “so it’s good.”

That’s not to say he can necessarily enjoy the familiarity — nothing is that easy in 2020. The restaurants he loves are currently closed for indoor dining. Even his team can’t yet practice together in a group setting; that’s to come next week.

Ricky Rubio speaks on a Zoom call Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Minneapolis. Rubio has returned to his original NBA team, a sidewinding career leading the popular point guard back to the Minnesota Timberwolves after a third trade in three years. (Minnesota Timberwolves via AP)

Circumstances are different now, as is the point guard himself. Rubio has spent the past three years at two different stops, Utah and Phoenix, and feels as though he’s improved dramatically as a player and a person. He has been to the playoffs twice now, and he’s improved as a shooter and scorer while still serving as that electrifying playmaker that ignites a…

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