Why the Timberwolves should keep Ricky Rubio

Why the Timberwolves should keep Ricky Rubio

Timberwolves

Why the Timberwolves should keep Ricky Rubio

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The NBA trade deadline is furiously approaching and fans are frequently refreshing their Twitter feeds in hopes to see the latest trade news. Rumors have swirled around the Minnesota Timberwolves shopping point guard Ricky Rubio and inquiring about New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose. Both have very different skill sets as Rubio is known a pass first point guard and Rose identifies more with the modern NBA point guard.

Most point guards in the NBA today tend to be athletic, scoring machines leading their teams in shot attempts. Instead of the point guard orchestrating their offense like they did in the past, many teams have other players adjust their style of play to the point guard. Examples of this would include Houston Rockets point guard James Harden, Boston Celtics point guard Isiah Thomas and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a much different situation however. Center Karl-Anthony Towns  and small forward Andrew Wiggins are the focal points of the Timberwolves offense and will be the cornerstones of the team for years to come. The ideal point guard for the Timberwolves is a player whose primary objective on offense is to distribute the ball the duo of Towns and Wiggins. That player needs to be more concerned with making his teammates better and putting them in a position to score, than averaging 20 points per game.

Rubio fits that description much more than Rose. While Rubio has shooting and defensive deficiencies, he is a much more valuable asset to the Timberwolves than Rose would be based upon style of play.

Rubio consistently pushes the ball up the floor and passes early and often in an offensive set. Rose on the other hand, tends to hold the ball for extended periods of time and take his defender one-on-one. Advanced statistics support the previous claim as 77.4% of Rose’s made baskets are unassisted. Rubio is also a more efficient ball handler than Rose. This season Rubio’s assist-to-turnover ratio is 3.49 compared to Rose’s mediocre 1.81.

Rose is considered a more dynamic scorer averaging nearly nine more points per game than Rubio. However, from an efficiency standpoint some of their offensive statistics are comparable.

Player OFFRTG EFG% 3P%
Ricky Rubio 108.0 43.7 28.1
Derrick Rose 108.2 47.1 24.1

Efficiency statistics aside, the Timberwolves simply don’t need a ball dominant, isolation point guard to detract from the talents of Towns and Wiggins. Towns and Wiggins are averaging 15.5 and 15.9 shots per game respectively. Rose himself is averaging 15.5 shots per game compared to Rubio’s 7.0. The addition of Rose would ultimately take shots away from Towns, Wiggins and the rest of the Timberwolves as well as decrease ball movement.

Rubio might not be considered the point guard of the future for the Timberwolves, but he is a much better solution than Rose given the current roster. While Rose is an expiring contract and would give the Timberwolves more cap space in the offseason to make a splash in free agency, Rubio’s contract is still affordable considering the recent astronomical increase in the salary cap.

The injury to shooting guard Zach LaVine has put some pressure on the Timberwolves’ front office to make a trade to keep up with others in the Western Conference pursuing the eighth and final playoff spot. However, Rose seems as though he could do more harm than good to the Timberwolves, especially if it comes at the expense of losing the important role Rubio plays in the process.

Logan Metzger is a contributor to HowlinTwolf.com. Follow him on Twitter: @loganmetzger33

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