Why The Timberwolves Need Ricky Rubio
When it comes to NBA point guards, there are two names that consistently pop up in trade rumors: Goran Dragic and Ricky Rubio. Dragic is deserving of his own piece, but for now we are going to focus on Rubio.
If you go to a Timberwolves game or find a forum for the team, no player receives more heckling or disapproval than Rubio. When Rubio looks to take a shot, people don’t like it, but yet complain that he doesn’t look to score. There is even talk that he is not a “true” point guard.
Of all point guards in the NBA, Rubio seems to be one of the few “true” point guards. The original purpose of the point guard is after all to facilitate the offense and get the ball to the scorers. Rubio is annually among the top-10 in assists per game. He is currently 5th in the league at 8.3 APG. He has only averaged 10 points per game for his career, so he has never been a big scorer.
Despite the fact that he is only averaging nine points per game this season, he is shooting his highest percentage of his career this season (39.2%). He is also shooting almost 90 percent from the free throw line.
Too many people are looking at the fact that Rubio is not a scorer as the reason he doesn’t fit this team. However, Rubio is second on the team in double-doubles, only trailing Karl-Anthony Towns. Rubio has registered 11 double-doubles, and has flirted with a triple-double on a few occasions. February has proved to be Rubio’s best month so far, as he has had four double-doubles in seven games. He has also scored in double figures in six of those seven games.
Rubio is not just important to the offense, but he is one of the best defenders on the team. Rubio’s defense will be a necessity as this Timberwolves team struggles to find a defensive identity under Coach Thibodeau.
The Timberwolves give up the second highest shooting percentage in the entire NBA (52.3%), and are ranked 23rd in the league in terms of opponent three-point percentage (36.5%). In fact, there are only two spots that this defense ranks in the top half of the league, and those are Opponent Points Per Game and Opponent Rebounds Per Game.
Rubio is also needed for his veteran presence. Despite being only 26, half of the Timberwolves roster is younger than Rubio. Getting rid of him would probably end up leaving Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn to share time at the point, which neither of them are ready to do. Tyus is slowly developing into a decent player, and Dunn is actually doing worse than what was expected.
So to all of the Timberwolves fans that are not happy with Rubio, just remember, he is the best option you have.
Don’t take him for granted.