Timberwolves Want Ricky Rubio to Score More

by August 28, 2013

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).”