Ricky Rubio brings a lot of skills and experience to Cleveland
The Cleveland Cavaliers made a move to trade for Ricky Rubio last month, acquiring a solid backup behind point guard Darius Garland following last season’s injury fiesta that exposed the team’s lack of depth at the position.
In a debatable deal that saw the team send away one of their only performing wing players, the Cavs addressed a dire need and managed to bring in one of the league’s smartest leaders to complement the young core.
Following the departures of fan favorites Larry Nance Jr. and Matthew Dellavedova, the Cavaliers were left with a desperate need for more maturity in the locker room, and it really does not get much better than the do-it-all Spanish point guard.
Prior to the trade, Rubio last appeared for the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he averaged one of his least productive seasons statistically: 8.6 points alongside 6.4 assists per game. While still solid, they are a steep decline from his production in Phoenix only a season ago where he tied a career-high 13.1 points per game.
Nevertheless, the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup MVP continued to dominate in international competitions, having recently exploded for 38 points for Spain in a losing effort against Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, proving he has not lost a step and will likely still thrive in a better situation.
What else can ‘old guy’ Ricky Rubio bring to the Cavs?
Despite only being 30 years of age, Rubio is very much considered to be a tenured veteran due to the fact that he has played professionally since before he turned 15, becoming the youngest ever to suit up in Spain’s Liga ACB.
After six seasons in the Spanish league, and two years after being drafted into the NBA, Rubio officially joined Minnesota in 2011. However, multiple injuries hampered his first couple of seasons in the league. Despite the early setbacks, he was still able to develop into one of the best playmakers in the league, while also remaining as a solid on-ball defender.
Rubio’s outside shooting has been somewhat inconsistent, but if his defensive motor and elite playmaking will rub off on Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, he would have done his job. Now a savvy veteran leader going into his 11th season, the former wunderkind’s biggest impact could very well be guiding the team’s young backcourt both on and off the floor.
While admittedly not being in an ideal situation to compete as part of a contending team, he relishes the opportunity to help lead the Cavs’ young players to reach another level—a la Donovan Mitchell in Utah or Devin Booker in Phoenix. It is no coincidence that some of his best-performing seasons were alongside those two.
Rubio also brings a happy demeanor to the workplace and can help inject positive energy into the sometimes topsy-turvy Cavaliers locker room.
Apart from all that, the Spanish floor general is set to earn 17.8 million this season in the last of a three-year contract, giving the Cavs a very attractive and valuable trade asset, if needed.
Now it remains to be seen whether Rubio will be around the team past the trade deadline, but it would greatly benefit the young roster if he does finish the season in Cleveland. Perhaps even help a few of them realize their All-Star potential.