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Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 9:25 am  |  47 responses

Timberwolves Want Ricky Rubio to Score More


According to Flip Saunders, the new GM in Minnesota, point guard Ricky Rubio needs to become more of a scorer. Saunders is confident Rubio can do it. Per Fox Sports: “His 2.4 steals per game tied Chris Paul for first in the NBA. His 7.3 assists per game tied LeBron James for 10th — uncanny, considering Minnesota’s top three scoring threats (Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Chase Budinger) missed enormous chunks of playing time. His flashy passes dazzled fans, and his glowing grin — even in the face of a 50-loss season — spread positivity throughout a Target Center that otherwise reeked with disappointment. Yet Tricky Ricky’s new boss wants more. Buckets, particularly. ‘That’s his next step in the evolution of the point guard position,’ recently hired Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told KFAN 100.3. ‘Being a bigger scoring threat, being able to knock down shots, which will make the game much more easier for him.’ [...] In two seasons, the native of Spain has averaged 10.7 points per game, which would rank 39th among qualifying point guards during that span had his torn ACL not cost him the second half of the 2011-12 season and the first quarter of last year. He’s shooting just 35.9 percent from the field and 31.7 from 3-point range. Like all of us, Rubio’s a creature of habit, Saunders said. When things get tight, he turns to the most effective area of his game. ‘As a young player, when you get in stressful situations — and what I mean by that is competitive situations — you always revert back to what you do best,’ Saunders said, ‘and what he does best is pass the basketball, make other players better. In pressure situations, that’s what he’s gonna do. He’s not gonna shoot or do the things that he’s not as comfortable with.’ Rubio’s point production has actually increased since he came over from Spain; in six years of overseas play, he averaged double digits just once (in 2007-08 during Liga ACB play).”

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  • Mike From Spain

    He needs to shoot better, period. It would be a bit silly to try to turn him into a volume scorer, with options such as Kevin Love, Pekovic and Kevin Martin already in the team.

  • OneStep

    If he can become efficient to the point of shooting 45-50% from the field whilst taking 10-12 shots a game and still focussing on being the facilitator he’ll be a hell of a point guard. He needs to shoot better just to keep the defence honest. Once he can do that he’ll be extremely hard to guard and the rest of his game will become easier too. Then he’d be scary good verging on great. Until then though I’m just going to enjoy his highlight reels.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Only a matter of time before Kevin Love is out of there.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Needs to practise getting those shots up instead of Mountain biking and kayaking.

  • LLC#12

    He’s got plenty of time, he’s only 22, younger than Wall and Lillard. He’ll be a great PG once he gets a solid jumper.

  • Dfrance

    He also needs to shoot when he’s open. Teams play him for the pass so hard that at times he has a free lane to the basket, but he doesn’t take it like its a trap.

    It’s kinda like LeBron in the Finals passing up all those open jumpers the first 5.5 games because “they want me to shoot” instead of realizing he can knock them down pretty consistently.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Ricky cannot knock those down pretty consistently tho. That’s the fundamental difference.

  • Dfrance

    I should have specified, but I didn’t mean jumpers. I meant when he probes the defense into the lane, or drives the baseline. Layups are there and he never once looks at the basket.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh yea definitely. i’ve felt since he was like 15 that watching / emulating Tony Parker was the best thing he could do to become a more effective player. It’s not like he’s really going to improve anywhere else, his passing/defense are already way better than they should be at this age.

  • Caboose

    He’s bad at shooting in motion. If he gets his feet set, he’s pretty solid. His mechanics aren’t terribly off either, all he needs is a GOOD shooting coach to run him through some more practice.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    shooting in motion / playing point guard…. kind of goes hand in hand. And his mechanics aren’t necessarily bad, but the way he leans his body over his feet, and pushes the ball out rather than up are huge problems. They seem fixable, although, idk how or if he will ever be able to be a real threat off the dribble outside the lane.

  • spit hot fiyah

    it feels like it, this coming season will probably determine it. if they play above expectations he might change his mind. they can still offer him the 5 year max

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    If they are the same team or no better, I don’t think the money will matter.

  • Saleem Rainman

    Flip Saunders, as many Minny fans would tell you, definitely qualifies as a silly man doe.

  • Saleem Rainman

    50 %? you gotta be kidding me. Lets see him take the first jump from mid 30′s to low 40′s first, and i think everyone is happy with the improvement for this season.

  • Saleem Rainman

    actually if u watch closely, and talk to wolves fans, he’s a lot better shooting off the dribble than he is in catch and shoot situations. At least thats what i’ve noticed, anyone have the stats that show the difference ?

  • spit hot fiyah

    same here

  • Caboose

    Are you sure? He seems pretty comfortable taking set up 3′s.

  • Caboose

    Very true. Ricky needs to watch some tape of Tony Parker and how his career progressed. If Ricky could get anywhere close to TP’s scoring ability, he’d be a top 3 PG in the L.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    will check now.
    .
    .
    we need someone with a Synergy Account. Only place with those stats.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    judging strictly off of his shooting %’s, he seems to shoot much better as a spot up shooter (he shoots the same % from 3 as he does from 3-9 feet, and a better % then he does from 10-15 feet). My eyes tell me the same thing.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    what’d you read exactly what i said to France below and just repeat me? lol

  • Caboose

    Yeah, when he gets set, he looks comfortable. It’s when he’s forced into taking a momentum shot that he doesn’t look nearly as good. It reminds me of Jason Williams’ shooting as a rook.

  • Caboose

    How much is that? I just looked it up and I’m interested…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    $70 a year far as i remember

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Jason had a much better touch. Look at Ricky’s arc on his jumpers. And look at the balance he carries through his release. His issues are habitual, and not the type of thing that is really easy to fix. Kind of like LeBron’s stupid hitch in his free throws. Or Rajon’s wacky right elbow.

  • MACARONI

    Hell yea

  • Caboose

    Yeah, I’ll get that for sure then. You get video access too, don’t you?

    All accounts expire on September 30, so I’ll sign up after that.

    I turn 21 in September, so I think I’ll make it a birthday present to myself haha

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    hell yeah, that’s a dope ass present.
    .
    and yeah, you can watch every possession throughout a season.

  • Caboose

    For sure. To me and to the Slamily.

  • Caboose

    Ricky’s arc is inconsistent, that’s the problem, and it is because of the way he leans his weight over his feet. Inconsistent weight distribution = inconsistent release. Compared to Rondo though, Ricky seems to have better touch.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    mainly to you. you are going to have a blast with it, i’m pretty positive.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    sometimes? Rondo does have games like game 2 against Miami in 2012 tho. He shows flashes of having a really great touch. His issue seems confidence related more than anything, honestly.

  • Caboose

    Well of course. I’ll get even MORE annoying

  • Caboose

    And that elbow

  • Caboose

    So you could essentially watch full games?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well, yeah. The elbow is terrible. But i’ve seen plenty of good shooters have something terribly wrong with their mechanics. The only thing they have in common, is an irrational confidence in their abilities.
    .
    then again, idk how much i’ve discussed my shooting philosophies on SLAM, but I am not big on making huge changes to shooting mechanics. I’m more a fix the little things / change the mindset type of coach. So I could be way off about Rondo’s potential as a shooter.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah i’m pretty sure. i don’t think you would get any broadcast stuff though, if that matters to you.

  • monster_nw8

    If the dude becomes a consistent scorer he can guarentee at least 15 and 10 a night.

  • Evan Boland

    ‘Bron doesn’t always knock ‘em down consistently though. When he misses a couple it get’s to him mentally. Lebron’s biggest flaw, imo, insecurity. You’re the best player in the world, stop trying so hard. Just go play.

  • Evan Boland

    No, that’s Lebron’s problem. Rondo’s is mostly form.

  • Evan Boland

    They have a pretty solid roster, it’s crazy how everyone wants to play with other superstars now. South Beach domino effect.

  • Evan Boland

    They got good shooters, too. And Brewer will be nice in the open court.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well if you say so.

  • Mike From Spain

    Ricky is really bad at finishing at the rim. If he gets a bit stronger in order to absorb contact and improves his touch around the basket in layups, that IMO would be just as needed a change as shooting open jumpers. He does not attack the basket so much because he’s not that good at it.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Everyone wants to win now. And superstar teams didn’t start in 2010.

  • OneStep

    I didn’t mean go straight to that level in one season. I mean eventually. Baby steps. Baby steps.

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