The Minnesota Timberwolves are investing a large portion of their future in the fate of their young point guard, Ricky Rubio. Rubio will turn 23 prior to the start of the upcoming 2013-2014 NBA season and, though he’s shown flashes of greatness over his first two seasons in the league, will need to elevate his game to another level.
After returning from a torn ACL suffered in the middle of his rookie season, Rubio played in 57 games for the Wolves last season. For the year he averaged 10.7 points, 7.3 assists, four rebounds and 2.4 steals in just 29.7 minutes per game. However, the biggest issue with Rubio’s game is the fact that he shot just 36 percent from the floor last season and only 29.3 percent from three.
We all know that Rubio is an extremely skilled passer that posted some of the best assist numbers in the league last season, even playing without Kevin Love. Moreover, Rubio is also a solid defender that uses his length to disrupt plays and force turnovers. However, it’s his inefficiency as a scorer where he really needs to improve.
Last season, Rubio’s true shooting percentage was just 48.2 percent. To put that in perspective, that’s the same percentage as the likes of Dahntay Jones and the much-maligned Andrea Bargnani. That’s not exactly the company the Wolves want their young point guard in when it comes to shooting efficiency.
Rubio’s obvious issue is with his jump shot, which often resembles a fastball directed at the rim rather than the more conventional arcing shot that you would like to see. Rubio has put in work to try and improve that over the past two seasons, but it’s undoubtedly an area where he needs to continue working.
As far as making himself more efficient and effective this season, Rubio needs to focus more towards his strengths, which is largely scoring off of the dribble and attacking the rim. Not only did he shoot 62.3 percent on driving layups last season, but he’s also able to draw more fouls in that type of situation. Considering that he’s shot 80 percent from the line over two seasons, that’s a positive for him.
When it comes down to it, the next step for Rubio is to play within himself until his shot comes around. He needs to be aware of when his shot feels off and play towards his strengths when that happens. Then, when his shot does come around, there will be another bridge to cross. For now, though, he needs to do what he can to be more efficient so that it doesn’t negate the other things that he brings to the table for Minnesota.