The Minnesota Timberwolves thought that they were drafting a superstar point guard in Ricky Rubio, but he has been very inconsistent through his first three seasons. There have been quite a few questions coming up about whether or not the Wolves actually have their franchise point guard, and those questions seem to have legs. Rubio has yet to take the next step to prove himself in the NBA, and he has a lot of work to do before he becomes the player that he has the potential to become.
Rubio played in and started all 82 regular season games this season for the Timberwolves, averaging 9.5 points, 8.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. His offensive game failed to take the next step that was expected, and in fact regressed from last season. As usual, his assist numbers were among of the highest in the league, but he didn’t seem to improve much as an all-around point guard either.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding Rubio has been his lack of improvement in any area of his game through his first three NBA seasons. Offensively, the Wolves need him to be much more aggressive, but he isn’t capable of stepping up in that category. He shot just 38 percent from the field, and just 33 percent from behind the 3-point arc. There were a few points in the 2012 season that he showed the potential to become a good scorer, but he certainly hasn’t realized that potential.
Despite his lack of offensive prowess, he has proven to be a very pesky defensive point guard. He averaged 2.3 steals for Minnesota last year, and is a very tenacious perimeter defender. The Timberwolves have been very happy with the effort and improvement that he has shown on that side of the court, but they would like him to become a bit more physical with more athletic opposing point guards like Russell Westbrook.
Overall, this is a very interesting question to keep an eye on as Rubio’s free agency is just around the corner. The Timberwolves still believe that Rubio can reach the potential that he was thought to have when they drafted him, but they are also preparing themselves to be disappointed. This offseason is going to be a very important one for Rubio, and he needs to work hard on improving his offensive game. If he is not able to take the next step, Minnesota might just begin looking for another option at the point guard position for the future.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.