After a terrible performance against the Miami Heat in which he scored just one point, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio’s scoring has picked up. Rubio’s poor jump shot has been criticized since he entered the league, and he hasn’t given critics any reason to let up this season. He’s shooting just 37 percent from the field on the season, but over the Timberwolves’ last three games, he’s averaging 17 points per game. But the increase in points hasn’t come from an improved jumper; Rubio has been getting to the free throw line more, and earning his living there.
Rubio has shot 44 percent from the field over his last three games. This isn’t sustainable for Rubio, and the 34 shots he shot in those three games is an extremely small sample size. Rubio shot 20 foul shots over those three games, though. He had shot just 2.25 free throws per game prior to those three games, and while it’s hard to imagine him continuing to shoot over seven per game from here on out, if Rubio can get to the line more, though, it will be a huge boost for the Timberwolves.
Rubio is averaging single-digit points for the first time in his short career. If he can get to the line five to six times per game, his scoring average will likely go up two to three points. He’s shooting a career-high 86 percent from the line so far, and if he can take advantage of this by drawing more contact, it will somewhat make up for his poor field goal shooting.
The last three games were a good sign and the Wolves are 8-2 in games in which Rubio has scored 12 or more points. It’s clear they need his scoring, and 12 points per game seems like a fairly attainable goal, especially if he can keep drawing fouls at an increased rate.