Ricky Rubio is an aberration not because of his exotic hair or nationality, nor his endearing accent or teen-idol charm. Rubio is an aberration for reasons as fundamental and useful as a bounce pass.

He's the rare subject of hype who turns out to be better than advertised. He's the rare NBA player who prides himself on unselfishness. He is the rare athlete who succeeds because of savvy and intelligence rather than athletic ability.

Whether this should be considered a compliment to him or an insult to his team, it is true: 10 games into his NBA career, Rubio is the second-best player on the roster.

Tuesday, Rubio faced his toughest NBA challenge, in MVP point guard Derrick Rose and defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls. Unlike many 21-year-olds, Rubio won't have to hide the test results from his parents. The Wolves' 111-100 loss was that close largely because of Rubio's gamesmanship.