It wouldn’t be trade deadline season if Ricky Rubio’s named didn’t get brought up, and it’s time to take a look at what the Spanish point guard brings to the table.
If your team is in the market for a decent point guard who’s offensively inept but has some of the best passing skills in the NBA, contact the respective front office about Ricky Rubio.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical initially reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves are “actively shopping” their starting point guard, who’s in his sixth season in the NBA. On the year, the 26-year-old is averaging 7.6 points, 7.9 assists and 1.9 steals a night in about 32 minutes. As it stands, Rubio’s game hasn’t changed since he’s come into the league.
The one thing he would bring to any organization is the ability to pass the ball. Rubio was heralded as a teenager for his other-worldly vision and IQ, but he also had the skills to execute an array of passes both complex and simple.
Since being selected fifth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, Rubio has averaged 8.3 assists a game for the length of his career, making him one of five active players to do so over that span, according to Basketball Reference. He’s made something out of nothing for a long time, and it would seem he’s in the perfect spot with Minnesota. Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns all draw a ton of attention, and all Rubio has to do is make the proper pass.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. With a career shooting clip of 36.9 percent, defenses don’t need to worry about Rubio. In most cases, they can stick their worst-defending guard on him and focus on the other weapons. What’s disheartening is the lack of improvement and his struggles from all three levels of the court.
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His three-ball is the worst it’s ever been (24 percent), but he is a reliable foul shooter at 87 percent. The only issue is that he doesn’t draw a lot of contact because he’s too unselfish at times.
The offensive shortcomings that plague Rubio are only deterring to a team without established weapons. He’s shown he can run an offense efficiently. Even when the Timberwolves were among the worst organizations in the league, Rubio did his part and maintained an assist-to-turnover ratio of three, which is outstanding.
Along with having stars beside him, the defense needs to be solid. Rubio isn’t a bad defender, but he’s not long or extremely athletic, and that’s an issue in today’s game. According to NBA.com, Rubio’s opponents shoot roughly 48 percent when guarded by him. What he does have are great hands and great anticipation, and he’s finished second in steals per game three times.
If the Wolves moved on from Rubio, it would mean they’re ready to go in on Kris Dunn 100 percent. And I don’t believe that’s plausible at this juncture. Dunn — also a fifth overall pick — hasn’t lived up to his potential on either side of the court, and it’ll take a couple more years until he’s ready to inherit the offense.
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