As I am sure all of you know, Kevin Love will be leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves via trade later this month, which means the Timberwolves need a new person to be the star of the team. I believe that it is time for Ricky Rubio to step up and truly become that franchise player.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Rubio fan, he is actually my favorite player to watch on the Timberwolves. However, I do think that for the Timberwolves to find success, Rubio needs to improve.
There are a lot of things that Rubio does well on the court: he is a good defender, a solid three point shooter (Rubio shot over 33 percent last year) and is an absolute wizard with the basketball, making jaw dropping passes on a whim.
That said, Rubio definitely struggles with his shooting and scoring, which Rubio definitely needs to improve for this next season to make up for the absence of Kevin Love and his 25 points a night. He needs to improve his shooting percentage with his jump shots and definitely needs to start finishing better around the rim to become a complete player.
This is Rubio’s time to shine, as there is a lot of uncertainty with the young talent the Timberwolves have on the roster. Zack Lavine and (soon to be on the roster) Andrew Wiggins both have great potential, but both are still unproven. Many people probably think Wiggins will come in from the pending Love trade and be the franchise player as the number one pick in this year’s draft, but Wiggins can’t lead this team right now. Although he looks like he will be a good defender from the start, his offensive game still has a lot of holes he needs to fix before he can become a star player.
Rubio and his agent are currently trying to get a max deal in place, and I don’t think he deserves it right now. He’s a good player, but he needs to become a great player to receive a max contract, and Rubio has never been an All-Star. That is why Rubio needs to take advantage of the Timberwolves’ current situation, as he has an opportunity to prove how valuable he is to the team, by being more assertive on offense and by improving his ability to put the basketball in the hoop.
The 2014-2015 season will be Rubio’s fourth season in the league, and at 23 he is the perfect person to help lead the team right now. He already is a popular franchise player, so all he has to do is improve his offensive game to become the new leader for Minnesota- he already plays sound defense. If Rubio became a legitimate offensive threat in terms of scoring, by raising his scoring from 10 points to closer to 20 a game, it would take pressure off the Timberwolves’ other main scorers, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic. Then they would also have more room to do scoring of their own as defenses would have to focus more on Rubio and less on them.
A point guard that can score, pass and defend is what the Timberwolves need to succeed in the present and in the future without Love, and this is the season that Rubio can prove that he is that complete point guard who deserves the big contract extension he is seeking.
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