Going into this season, it was clear that just one thing was holding Ricky Rubio back from being one of the NBA’s elite point guards — his shooting. Now five games into the regular season, it’s clear that Rubio’s shooting is still a major flaw in his game. The Minnesota Timberwolves need Rubio’s shot to improve if he’s going to be the future of the franchise.
Rubio actually started off shooting the ball at typical Rubio levels, going 5-of-15 in the Wolves’ first game, 4-of-8 in the second, and 3-of-11 in the third. In the Wolves’ fourth game this season against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rubio shot 0-for-7, and things haven’t gotten much better. He is shooting just 28.6 percent from the field on the season.
It’s difficult to imagine Rubio shooting worse than he did in his first two seasons, and it’s safe to assume that he’ll hit at least 35 percent of his shots as the season goes on. 35 percent is still terrible though, and Rubio fans had to hope he’d get above the 40 percent mark this season.
So far, it doesn’t look like that’s happening, but it’s still too early to say. Rubio has shot more 3-pointers this season than usual, tossing up three attempts in each of his games except their most recent matchup against the Golden State Warriors. All of these 3-point attempts are dragging Rubio’s field goal percentage down as he’s made just 3-of-13, but his conversion rate on 2-pointers is still awful at 30.6 percent.
Luckily for Rubio and the Timberwolves, his strengths have only gotten stronger. Rubio has already dished out 43 assists and recorded 17 steals, the most steals of any Timberwolves player over the first five games. These strengths are arguably enough to cover his shooting weakness, but until he can become at least a decent shooter, he won’t be considered a top-five point guard.