Previewing the 2013 NBA Season: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a very talented roster, and could very well compete for a Playoff spot in the Western Conference this year, as we have previously covered. One of the biggest pieces for those Playoff chances this year is Ricky Rubio. He’s had a rough go of it so far through his NBA career with the torn ACL towards the end of his rookie season. There are high expectations for him heading into 2013 now that he’s had this entire off-season at full health to work on his game.

51021775910a2.preview-620Rubio averaged 10.7 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game last year in his second NBA season. He is the key for the Wolves behind Kevin Love because of how good he is at setting his teammates up in positions to succeed. There is no doubt that Rubio has the potential to be a top-10 point guard in the NBA if he’s able to stay healthy, and his team stays healthy around him.

There are areas that Rubio really needs to improve in. The first and foremost area is his offensive game. At times last year he was able to be a legitimate threat to score the basketball, but he just isn’t consistent. He needs to work hard on his mid-range and perimeter shooting, and has to be more confident in his ability to get to the rim and finish strong. Rubio has all the necessary skills to become a very good scorer, but it is all about the aggressive mindset in the NBA.

His defense is another area that could use a bit of improvement. He’s far from bad, but he does need to work on his lateral quickness in order to keep up with the better NBA point guards. Rubio isn’t the type of athlete that many NBA point guards are beginning to be, so he relies on his basketball IQ, and the ability to stay in front of opponents to get his defensive stops. If he wants to be able to consistently go head-to-head with guys like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose, he really needs to work hard at developing much quicker feet.

Ricky Rubio has shown throughout his first two years in the NBA that he is one of the best point guards as far as his passing ability in the NBA. He’s got a few things that he needs to work on, but there’s not too much holding him back from becoming a top-10 NBA point guard. It will be interesting to watch the Timberwolves this season, especially if both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are healthy for the entire year. Each of Rubio’s first two seasons, Love and Rubio have had issues staying on the floor together at the same time. In year one, it was Rubio’s torn ACL that disabled him, and last year Love missed a good chunk of the season due to injury issues as well.

Overall, you can expect a very good season from Ricky Rubio this year. He’s had a full off-season to work on the issues that we have brought up in this article, and he’s got a very talented team surrounding him that has definitely improved from last year. If he’s able to get a more aggressive offensive mindset, you will his his scoring numbers go up. You can also expect him to put up around the same number, if not more assists per game. It’s going to be a special season for Rubio, so Wolves fans get excited!

Evan Massey is the Lead Editor at Hoops-Nation. Follow Evan and Hoops-Nation on Twitter. 

Evan Massey

Evan is a diehard basketball fan with a lot of writing experience. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, Sports Illustrated, and various other publications. If you would like to contact Evan, you may email him at emasseysports@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.

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