Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio continues to show signs of being a significant scoring threat after struggling with his shot in the weeks following his return from knee surgery. In Saturday night’s 99-86 loss to Memphis, Rubio went 6-for-12 from the field and hit one of his two three-point shots on the way to a career-high 23 points. He also had 10 rebounds, nine assists and a steal, coming one assist away from his second career triple-double. Rubio has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games, averaging 15.1 points in that stretch. Perhaps more importantly, he has been efficient doing so, shooting 43.8 percent from the field in that time, and has hit four of nine three-point shots. “One thing he has to be able to do is hit the open threes,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He has to knock those down.’’ The midrange jump shot is important, too, particularly because of the way opponents are playing the Wolves on pick-and-roll plays. If Rubio can consistently hit the jumpers teams are giving him, it will free up teammates for more open shots. That said, Saturday’s performance showed yet again how far Rubio has come since his return to action Dec. 15. He has not yet qualified for the official league leaderboards. But, among point guards, Rubio’s 2.3 steals per game would place him third, his 7.3 assists would place him ninth and his four rebounds would place him fifth. “He has come a long way,” Adelman said. “I’d like to see him finish the season out where he continues to progress and continue on from there. He’s got his confidence back in his knee, and he’s getting back to doing the things he was doing last year.” Sudden impact Perhaps an indication of how quickly Chase Budinger has become an important part of the Wolves’ rotation was the way the offense struggled so much Saturday with him shooting poorly (1-for-6).
Playmaker Rubio emerging as a scoring threat for Wolves
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Apr 1