The Minnesota Timberwolves are obviously lacking true leadership. Nothing could have been more apparent when they failed to show any energy at the start and fell well behind in a Monday’s NBA loss to the Portland Trailblazers. Considering that they only lost 100-98, the slow start was obviously critical.
So who’s in charge?
Maybe it’s time for Ricky Rubio to step up, especially in a floor leadership role. He’s obviously a little too young to be a leader in the traditional sense of the word. But against the Trailblazers, he demonstrated his ability to take control of the game and get his teammates involved, as his 14 assists would suggest.
It’s not that Rubio didn’t play well, considering he had an excellent game on the stat sheet with 15 points and 14 assists.
But he does need to pick up his game, considering that he’s not quite producing as he did a year ago with almost 11 points per game. He’s down to six points this season. He has completely lost his confidence as a 3-point shooter, which has hurt both Rubio and his team.
He was 32-of -104 last season in triples. Now he’s 1 of 16. His free-throw shooting isn’t bad, but you don’t go to the free-throw line much if you’re a guard who is having trouble hitting from the outside. There’s no sense to play tough defense on him. But keep in mind that he had a torn ACL and a torn LCL in his left knee and is coming back from that after having reconstructive surgery. Such an ordeal can zap a lot of your game mentality, especially in your second pro season.
Rubio just needs to enjoy the game, relax and have more faith in his shooting. If that happens, the Timberwolves could benefit from his playmaking expertise and start winning games with a full four-quarter effort.