Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio is developing into quite the player.
Averaging 9.6 points and 7.2 assists a game, the 23-year-old Rubio has double-digit performances in the past four games. It started with a triple-double in a 107-83 victory against the Sacramento Kings on March 12. Rubio scored 21 points, grabbed 13 boards and got 12 assists that game.
Rubio reminds fans of a young Jason Kidd, mimicking his ball-handling skills and just like Kidd, Rubio is focused on defense as well as offense. Yet, one question comes to mind.
Can Rubio become the next Jason Kidd?
Kidd exploded onto the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks in 1994. He shared the Rookie of the Year award with Grant Hill in 1995, and went on to become a 10-time All-Star, five-time NBA First Team member and a nine-time All-Defensive Team member. Kidd finally won an NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks two years ago.
Kidd has also set records for triple-doubles in the playoffs and recorded 11 in the postseason, the second most in playoff history.
Big shoes to fill for Rubio, but frankly he could get to that level.
Rubio averages 2.2 steals a night, which is shy of his 2.3 steals from last season. Kidd’s highest total came from the 1996-97 season where he averaged 2.2 steals with both Dallas and the Phoenix Suns.
Kidd also scores more points than Rubio and always averaged in double digits except in his first full season back with Dallas. Kidd averaged nine points per game in the 2007-08 campaign. Rubio isn’t there yet in points, but he could get there. Notably, Rubio isn’t matching Kidd’s numbers in assists.
The problem with this comparison lies with Rubio’s durability. He missed half the season last year and missed 25 games this season due to injuries. Rubio recently strained his groin during a March 18 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Associated Press (via Twin Cities) stated Rubio was available to return, but sat the rest of the game.
When Kidd first started, he wasn’t injury prone. He nearly played every game in his first two years, missing only four games in those two seasons combined.
Ricky Rubio is showing signs that he can turn out to be a great point guard and become a leader, emulating Kidd. However, one thing stands in the way of becoming the next Jason Kidd; he needs to stay healthy.