Why Ricky Rubio Is Valuable to the Minnesota Timberwolves
I often hear people say Ricky Rubio isn't an offensive point guard and that it hurts the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Well, today I am going to argue why Rubio is actually valuable to the Timberwolves.
Since Rubio returned February 2, Minnesota is 2-2. (Rubio's played in four of the Timberwolves' five games).
Rubio has helped Minnesota beat Miami and Memphis, both currently in the playoff mix. In the two losse, Rubio's Timberwolves fell to Atlanta and Dallas, both also currently in the playoff mix.
Yes, I realize his numbers aren't great. In Rubio's four games, he is shooting 40 percent from the field (14-of-35) and 50 percent from long range (4-of-8). Rubio is averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in those games.
But his influence on the court is special. Before last night's game against Atlanta, ESPN's 'SportsCenter,' showed the effect Rubio has while he's on court versus while he is off the court:
I've watched Rubio since he's back with the Timberwolves, and I've noticed his court vision is spectacular. He makes passes in difficult windows.
See the following examples:
First, against Miami, Rubio was running the floor and saw Anthony Bennett on the fast break. Rubio threw a no-look bounce pass to Bennett, who then finished for a slam dunk.
Second, against Dallas, Rubio was at the top of the key and completed a wraparound bounce pass to Thad Young in between two defenders from the Mavericks.
Rubio makes difficult passes to his teammates look easy. His teammates trust him and have chemistry with him.
I know that the NBA today is an offensive league, where point guards are a premium. See Damian Lilliard, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul and Tony Parker.
But in the four games Rubio has played since he's returned from injury, the Timberwolves have scored 94, 102, 90 and 105 points.
I think the four-year contract worth 55 million Rubio received in the offseason was worth it. Rubio doesn't score like Paul, Wall, Lilliard, Irving or Parker. However, his impact is just as great. He sees the floor, he adds defensive intensity, has chemistry with his teammates and has fun while he's on the court.
The next time you tune into a game, watch the energy and leadership Rubio brings to the Timberwolves.
*This the second column by Sam Tastad. Every week, he will write about a local or professional sports topic. For story ideas, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @samtastad.