71. Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves

Monday September 12th, 2016

Rubio is a first-class player in two crucial regards (playmaking, perimeter defense) and sorely lacking in another (scoring). Where that leaves his overall game is a matter of disagreement. Rubio characterizes such an extreme in both regards that his contributions can only be fully understood within an actual team context. That’s just not possible for the purposes of this exercise. Some theoretical teams would be able to give Rubio the kind of shooting support he needs while others would wither beneath his inaccuracy and reluctance. That variability is enough to depress his value this far, couching Rubio among players who have fewer (or no) transcendent NBA skills. His passing and ball-hawking defense are too remarkable to push further. Both stem from the same supernatural timing – a sense that allows Rubio to pick off passes with ease before threading a no-look, behind-the-back feed between two defenders. Some of his passes require multiple viewings at varying speed and angles to fully appreciate. It’s flash as function, and in each case proof that Rubio is so far ahead of the defense that he can toy easily with the space around them. (Last year: No. 87)

+ Tied for first in steal percentage and finished No. 2 in total offensive fouls drawn last year
+ Last season was actually an up year for Rubio as both a three-point shooter (32.6%) and an interior finisher (50.8%) 
Poor shooting would be impossible to hide from playoff scrutiny
Largely healthy last season but no stranger to nagging injury

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