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Timberwolves want Rubio to become better shooter, scorer

Aug 28, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

Ricky Rubio AP

Ricky Rubio can pass, that was never in question. He’s a good floor general and he sees the court and sets guys up brilliantly.

But his shooting needs work. Last season he struggled to finish on the attack shooting 41.4 percent inside eight feet, plus he shot 34.6 percent from the midrange. He took the vast majority of his threes above the break (not the corners) and hit 26.3 percent from there. The season before the numbers were basically the same.

Flip Saunders, the guy making the decisions with Minnesota basketball, wants to see Rubio become more of a scoring threat. That’s what he told listeners at KFAN in Minneapolis, as reported by Fox Sports North.

“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.”

He’s right, of course. Rubio averaged 7.3 assists per game last season, which is pretty remarkable considering he didn’t get to pass to Kevin Love, Chase Budinger or Nikola Pekovic much due to injuries. It took Rubio a few months after his return to get his legs back and really trust his knee again, but once he did he was back to throwing great passes and organizing the team well.

But if he’s a scoring threat he’s that much more dangerous. And much harder to defend.

I’m relatively high on Minnesota — if they can stay healthy this season I think they are a playoff team in the West. It’s going to be a bottom three seed, and they will get bounced in the first round, but getting back into the playoffs is the first step.

And if Rubio’s shooting percentages go up, the Timberwolves become that much more dangerous.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    What are they doing to facilitate Rubio’s ball handling, defense and passing abilities? How about for once let’s focus on what he CAN do instead of trying to force him to focus on his shortcomings.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Everyone is supposed to work at improving their weaknesses, their game etc… We always hear about players who worked on their games during the summer. Even us regular people are supposed to work on increasing our skills for our workplace etc…

      So, uh, focusing on ones shortcomings is kind of popular for people, whether they are pro athletes or not…

      • casualcommenter - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        The best players “self-scout” and try to minimize their weaknesses. All-time greats such as Jordan, Bird, Kobe, LeBron, etc. all have talked about that in interviews.

        Not sure why the original poster is finding that idea so difficult to comprehend.

    • zerole00 - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      @ProBasketballPundit

      So by your logic, Dwight Howard shouldn’t work on his free throws then?

      Don’t be an idiot.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        That’s exactly right, dipsh**. Dwight Howard should focus on his pick & roll game because that’s what he’s good at. He could be a beast for the Rockets but he’s wasting time trying to be good at something he’ll never be good at.

      • imakcds - Aug 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        the words Should and Could will forever be associated with Dwight Howard.

  2. skinsfanwill - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    You need to stop it with this Chase Budinger reference all the time as if he is really that great of a player. Pecovic, Love, and Rubio, I can agree. Please stop throwing Budinger in there. He’s decent, but he is no threat. Derrick Williams is a much better player and bigger threat on both ends of the floor. I understand the media WANTS him to be this great threat, but he really isn’t. that’s why Houston got rid of his ass in the first place.

    • cbt22 - Aug 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Have you watched Timberwolves basketball? D-Will is improving but Budinger is a better player right now than Derrick. Also D-Will isn’t really that good on D yet and mostly plays PF and Budinger plays SF and SG. But I guess you are kind of right because yes D-Will is a much better PF than Budinger. But if you actually watch Buginger play he is pretty good.

      • adoombray - Aug 28, 2013 at 7:19 PM

        This. There really isnt a comparison because Budinger is a true small forward. DWill is still figuring out his position. He WANTS to be a SF to get on the court more, but he’s build like a forward. DWill is essentially a K.Love lite from off the bench.

        In Adelman’s motion based offense Budinger comes open for corner 3s alot. Dude himself is always gushing about how happy he is playing for Adelman. The Rockets didn’t “GET RID OF HIS ASS”, they traded him for a first round pick that became Terrence Jones, who, besides being one of those awesome prospects you can trade for, for 10 cents on the dollar in 2k, is mostly known for stomping a homeless man outside a night club in Portland.

      • imakcds - Aug 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        everyone wants the star, the spectacular, but coaches appreciate fundamentals and intelligence. The difference in talent at the NBA level is minute, and, being a team game, success does not always rely on overwhelming skill.

  3. sportsfan18 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    He’s a great passer… just tell him to pass the ball to the basket…

  4. mnpurplewolf - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Wait, stop the presses or since that meduim is dead.. ctrl+alt+delete

    What about his ability to drive the lane? Rubio finishes at the basket very well, not to mention defenders are more interested in his possible passing targets are, leaving him wide open for an easy lay-up.

    His shot will come along, look how long until Jason Kidd developed into a decent shooter…

  5. dysraw1 - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Slick Rick should reference Magic Johnson a lousey shooter who just got better an better

  6. unsportsmenmic - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Reblogged this on UnSportsMenMic and commented:
    You would hope or think Rubio would want this for himself. Being a better shooter at any position helps your overall game. Or just see Jason Kidd how he had to be a better shooter late in his career.

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