Ricky 4EVER

Deporte, NBA


Polarizing, inconsistent, as flawed as a Star Wars prequel, and yet, beloved by millions me and some Timberwolves fans.  I love Ricky Rubio, and love, apparently, is unconditional. I love Ricky despite his shot selection and his broken jumper. I love him despite the fact that he is a professional basketball player who is bad at layups. I could even go as far as to say that I tolerate his classic pump fakes on open threes that then lead to him settling for a contested jumper right before the clock runs out. That is love, a love deeper than Doc River´s voice. That´s why it´s so difficult for me to see him fail in this new chapter of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz.

Yes, Rubio is failing; He has had only one no look pass throughout 27 games (That is low even for Luke Ridnour[1] standards). Every time he tries to pass or lob the ball to Gobert on a pick and roll, he turns the ball over. His coach makes him stand on the corner for over 50 percent of the offensive possessions he is on the floor. Ricky is not making smart plays at the rate one should expect of him, and he is trying too many off balance, off the dribble, off the glass jumpers that usually turn into easy transition points for the opposing team. His assists are down, his turnovers up, and I´m starting to run out of excuses to justify his struggles. It´s too late for most NBA fans, but I will try to convince my fellow Rickystanians to remain hopeful. Ricky is still good. OK, maybe that´s an overstatement, let me start over. Ricky is still fine, he´s got long arms, good hands and great hair! He is an above average defender, a great passer and an excellent free-throw shooter (basically everything Andrew Wiggings is not). The problem, like any disappointed father watching his son from the stands would tell you, is how he is being utilized by his coach.

Like Tom Thibodeau did at the beginning of last season, Snyder has been playing Ricky off the ball and letting the other guards run the offense. After the All Star break Thibodeau gave the car keys back to his pointguard and Ricky´s stats blossomed exponentially. That adjustment didn´t change the Timberwolves losing trajectory, but seeing how the jazz have stayed afloat contending for a playoff spot while Ricky and his coach are still trying to figure things out, it´s not unconceivable that once Snyder allows Rubio to play more freely, the Jazz could make a run for the seventh seed in the west. Dream BIG people!

[1] Nothing against good old Luke, I could have used Kirk Hinrik as an example just as easily, or any other white unspectacular nba pointguard for that matter.

(Originally published: December 2017)


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