Coming off a nasty ACL injury and working with a maligned roster of role players torn from their comfort zones Ricky Rubio concocted an almost unthinkably effective 2012-13 campaign.

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."

While Rubio at times makes it look easier than anyone Saunders has a point. Pass-first one-guards are a dying breed in today's NBA mostly because they've all learned how to score.

Not Ricky. Not yet.

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).