Expect Ricky Rubio to evolve in the NBA

June, 16, 2011
6/16/11
9:45
AM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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Reports continue to suggest that Ricky Rubio will be playing for the Timberwolves next season.

Rubio's numbers have been down in recent years. In a conversation with Benjamin Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves, David Thorpe points to Rubio's Barcelona coach, who runs a restrictive system that does not let Rubio do what he's best at: Improvise scoring opportunities for his team.

Is there any reason to believe the Spanish point guard could be more effective under Kurt Rambis in Minnesota?

Thorpe says yes:
Minnesota plays one of the fastest paces in the league right? I think that is gonna help him right there because he wants to run, he wants to fly.

The second thing is that, unlike the Lakers, who employ a triangle type offense which doesn’t really ask much of the point guard, Minnesota has had point guards that are allowed to just go play. And my hope, for Ricky’s sake, would be that they ask him to play the way I’m describing, which is: go score and when they take away your scoring, that’s when people are open. At the same time, be aware of your teammates and what they’re doing, which is the job of the point guard. And I think he’ll be more comfortable playing that way than the way they did it in Spain.

I think that the big question on him -- and its a fair question -- is why can’t he make perimeter shots? And I think that part of the reason why is a lack of confidence because he’s never sure when he’s supposed to shoot. And I think that watching tapes of the team and watching [Luke] Ridnour and Jonny Flynn creating shots -- I think that he’ll feel like he can do the same thing because he’ll be allowed to. He’s not supposed to be doing that for his team in Spain. [In Minnesota] he’s gonna be encouraged to look for his play. I think he’ll get back to being the player he was years ago when people liked him a lot.

UPDATE: ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton analyzes Rubio's European production:
So if he can't shoot and turns the ball over, why is Rubio worth the trouble? The answer lies in the rest of his stat line, where Rubio excels. Once we account for European scoring, Rubio's vaunted court vision is easily evident. Just 11 point guards handed out an assist on at least 10 percent of their teams' plays in 2010-11. Eight of the 11 have been All-Stars at some point, and the others are career starters.

Henry Abbott | email

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