Apr 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) dribbles against the Utah Jazz at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Will Ricky Rubio step up for Minnesota Timberwolves with Kevin Love gone?

Now that the Minnesota Timberwolves have dealt power forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers (or at least agreed to), they will build their team of the number one pick of June’s draft, swingman Andrew Wiggins. However, it will take Wiggins some time to develop and as they wait for that, they’ll need other players, namely point guard Ricky Rubio to show improvement.

John Zitzler of Basketball Insiders wonders if Rubio will step up now that Kevin Love is gone.

If the team wants to continue build a playoff contender not only will they need growth from their younger players but Rubio as well. His ability to create is undeniable and he has been great defensively, particularly creating turnovers, leading the league in steals this past season. However, he must work to become a more efficient scorer; Rubio has had difficulties with his shot his entire career, owning a career true shooting percentage of just 48.5 percent. His inability to consistently knock down shots allows defenders to sag off making it increasingly more difficult for him to penetrate and create. The fact that he lacks an even average perimeter jumper makes his assist numbers that much more impressive. His mentality will always be pass first but he needs to become more of a threat scoring the ball to keep opposing defenses honest. Rubio knows if he wants to develop into a complete player a reliable outside shot is something that he must strive to develop and that’s one aspect of his game that he is continuing to work on.

Rubio was originally selected by the Timberwolves with the fifth-overall selection in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. After two more years in Spain, Rubio joined the Timberwolves for the 2011-2012 season. Rubio put up 9.5 points, 8.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 38.1% from the floor, 33.1% from beyond the arc and 80.2% from the free throw line last season. In his career, he’s averaged 10.1 points, 8.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 36.8% from the floor, 32.3% from three and 80.1% from the charity stripe.

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Tags: Kevin Love Minneota Timberwolves Ricky Rubio

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