Annually Ricky Rubio is the topic of trade conversation in the state of Minnesota and every year Ricky Rubio stays as a member of the Timberwolves. Annually fans debate just what the heck Ricky Rubio is going to amount to in the NBA.
You would think we would know by now. Rubio is 26-years-old, in his sixth NBA season and has played professionally since 2005. Yes, in case you forgot, Rubio was playing professionally in his native Spain since the age of 15. Rubio playing so young in his career built him up in the public mind to be a potential NBA superstar and a prototypical superstar he is not.
Part of the problem on not knowing what Rubio is is the fact that Rubio can’t seem to consistently stay on the court. The current 2016-17 season projects to be only Rubio’s third time to play over 75 games in a season, but we have seen as of late is showing what Timberwolves fans need to see.
Rubio does not need to be a scorer. That is counterintuitive to everything you know about the NBA and the stars of the league, but Rubio does not need to be a scorer. Rubio does need to be able to score. Rubio needs to be able to hit his shot consistently, but does not need to be scoring 20 points a game.
The optimal Timberwolves team does not need Rubio scoring many points. There’s simply not enough shots to go around the team the way it is. Obviously, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins need their shots, so will Zach LaVine when he returns from injury, but also Gorgui Dieng should be getting more shots as one of the best shooting big men in the NBA. These great scorers help improve the best aspect of Rubio’s game, his passing.
The Spaniard makes passes in the blink of an eye that people who had ten minutes wouldn’t even think to make. The passing aspect of Rubio’s game has been there since day one, it’s one of those things in sports that you can’t teach, and there’s truly no better group of players for Rubio to be with than the dynamic group that surrounds him now. Sure, a pure three-point shooter standing in the corner would be great, but beggars can’t be choosers.
If the shot that Rubio has found once again can stay, so should he. As much as we don’t know about Rubio, we surely don’t know if Kris Dunn or Tyus Jones could be a capable starting point guard on this team. The window for this team starts next season and it’s critical to be able to get the ball to KAT and Wiggins. We know Rubio can do that.
Rubio doesn’t need to be having the sexy stat line of 22 points and franchise single-game record 19 assists like he did Monday against the Washington Wizards, but he should be averaging about 12 points and 12 assists. Rubio should be rewriting the franchise single game record for assists once a month. Point guards traditionally were not used for scoring, but nowadays scoring is sexy. Rubio doesn’t need to be sexy, he needs to be efficient. He needs to be able to score and doesn’t have to be a scorer.