While we are still ten days away from the Kevin Love trade becoming official, it’s never too early to look into the future when it comes to prospective trades. Could Flip Saunders trade Ricky Rubio next?It wouldn’t be very surprising to see Rubio traded by the start of next season. There was a report, either a week or two weeks back, that surfaced on the Internet saying Rubio was “seeking a max-type contract”. For Minnesota’s sake and his own, hopefully he wasn’t serious. He has not developed, at least not yet, into the type of player a franchise would pay $10-14 million per-year for. While his defense may be underrated, his offense is less valuable than a knife in a gunfight. He can’t finish at or even semi-below the rim because he simply isn’t athletic and, more times than not, he tries to draw a foul.
Rubio shot 49.1 percent from three-feet and in last season. Tony Parker shot 62.8 percent, Chris Paul shot 70.6 percent, Jose Calderon shot 65.2 percent, and even Brandon Jennings, who shot 37.3 from the field, shot 52.9 percent. Amassing flat point totals, Parker scored a whopping 377.7 points in the lane, Paul scored 153.5 points (and missed 20 games due to injury), Calderon scored 89.7 points (only 9.02 percent of all his field goal attempts were from three-feet and in), and Jennings amassed 258.17 points. And Rubio? While half of his two-point shots came from three-feet and in, he managed 267 points on 272.7 total shots. His point-per-shot (.98) was less than Calderon’s (1.31), Jennings’ (1.05), Paul’s (1.42) and Parker’s ( 1.23). On top of that, Rubio shot an average of 27.6 percent from three-feet and out to, but not including, three-point range.
He has only been in the NBA for three seasons and has only played a little more than two full seasons-worth of games, but if he continues to shoot at historically low percentages, he will go down as historically the worst shooter to ever play in the NBA. I think I made that pretty easy for everyone, right?
The only thing that could save him a possible, and I use the word “possible” about as respectfully as defenders treat his jump shot, max contract is if he shows that he is the type of leader Minnesota needs and amazes everyone and becomes maybe the first ever ultimate game-managing point guard in the NBA. It would have to be so convincing that Saunders would be stupid to not sign him to a long-term contract. Saunders would also have to be convinced that the team couldn’t grow and succeed without Rubio at the helm, directing and telling players where to go, not making careless mistakes, making ALL the correct plays, assisting on the big play, presumably if there are any for Minnesota this season or in the near future, and being a world-class teammate by taking the guys out to dinner, making everyone feel welcomed and liked, and doing everything possible to keep the fans coming to games.
Minnesota knows it’s not going to win this season, but that doesn’t mean Rubio should treat this season as a “throw away”. His contract is up after this season, so he is playing for a new one now. He needs to show that he is committed to Minnesota before Minnesota commits to him, whether it’s a long-term, big-money contract or an intermediate, mid-level-type contract.
There are plenty of good point guards Minnesota could get for Rubio. Patrick Beverly, Reggie Jackson, George Hill, and maybe even Eric Bledsoe, are just a few of them.
Heck, if any Minnesota fans watched the Las Vegas Summer League, they could see that rookie Zach Lavine looked pretty comfortable playing point guard. He made a lot of mistakes, but he is as athletic as players come, can shoot a little, and create his own shot. Those are three things Rubio can’t do.
Saunders isn’t done making moves to improve the quality of the roster from top to bottom.
Players should now know that no one’s spot is safe.
If a career 19-point and 12-rebound per-game guy like Love is tradable, surely a career 36.8 percent shooter like Rubio is tradable.