Ricky Rubio doesn’t like to look. That takes away all the excitement. (See video below.) The flashy Minnesota Timberwolves point guard is a terrific and rare combination, as far as coaches are concerned: he’s able to execute flashy plays and passes because first he executes on the core fundamentals, getting to the right spots on the floor and seeing the whole court at once.
Rubio’s fundamdentals — not his flash — are what keep him in a league where he’s not particularly good at another thing coaches really value: shooting the basketball. Rubio can knock down big shots, no doubt. But he’s not a consistent threat from the outside, which makes his razzle-dazzle even more impressive, since opponents can give him a little room when he’s deep. Rubio is so good at what he does do well that teams have lived with what he doesn’t: Rubio has played almost 7,000 NBA minutes and averages only 36.5% shooting from the field. No player in NBA history has shot a weaker percentage with over 5,000 minutes of court time, according to writer Michael Rand. Maybe he doesn’t look? Despite the poor shooting, Rubio’s Player Efficiency Number (PER) ranks him 17th among NBA point guards currently. And, again, look at this pass: