Point guard Ricky Rubio named the MVP of the FIBA World Championship, and that can be some encouraging news to suns fans around the Valley.
Does this mean that his international MVP game will translate to his American Basketball team the Phoenix Suns this season.
That question has not been completely answered with this performance, but it is however a great start.
The international game always seems to propel a player to his next level in his overall game, playing against the best players in the world through a month long tournament can aid as a very intense practice period to fine tune your game. We have seen players like Carmelo Anthony’s game go to another level after being on the same team with star players and compete against international NBA players as well.
The start of that next season Melo had one of his best NBA seasons ever for the Denver Nuggets in his overall game, where he actually made his team better because he was one of the leaders through International play.
The talented Rubio has always had star attached to his name coming out at a young age, he was projected to be all-star material at some point in the NBA, but has yet to get to that expected level.
But can a MVP performance in the international game prepare the Suns future point guard for the NBA, I would say it sure wouldn’t hurt.
In eight games during the FIBA tournament, Rubio averaged 16.4 points, 6.0 assists, 4.6 rebounds, while averaging just under 38.7% from beyond the arc.
How those numbers translate to the NBA game is left to be desired, but the assist category is where he will butter his bread with the Phoenix Suns makes and make an immediate difference. That 38.7 three point percentage can help as well, seeing he has always struggled from distance in his career.
If Rubio can bring that level of distributing the basketball in an offense that’s designed to be wide open and running, then he may just lift this Suns team to the next level and that is competing day in and day out.
Rubio has been a career 11.1 points per game scorer in the Association, he has set his career-high twice in the last two years at 13.1 in 2017-18 and 12.7 per game last season.
Scoring is not where he will be the most impactful, although if he can bring a little of it to the table it will open up so many other things for a Suns team that has been lacking a point guard play maker.
“He’s special. He can do many different things, such a good passer, smart player, good defensive player.”said Spain Head Coach Sergio Scariolo.
Special? in what way is the question. I believe this special is the ability to join a team together and be that oil that makes the machine run smoothly when added.
That roll as Suns leader on the court will be crucial to this teams growth, but we cannot dismiss the level of play and style of play from FIBA to the NBA.
Personally I believed from the begging that Ricky Rubio is a perfect fit for the young Suns and will have an immediate impact on the court, even through the hard times of learning his teammates and their tendencies.
Pass first point guards are starting to be rare in the NBA style of play, but it is the glue that has held this Spain team together for decades and helped them win this tournament.
Ricky Rubio is being looked at as the next coming of Steve Nash for the Phoenix Suns, if we all remember Nash was indeed a pass first point guard, that just didn’t look to score as much as he could have. But don’t be mistaken,Nash was deadly scoring when he needed to be, and that is where the biggest difference between he and Rubio lys in being able to knock down an open three point shot.
Clutch Shooting has not ever been Rubio’s strong point as he hangs around the low 32% to 37% shooting range from distance, and that will be crucial during his tenure in Phoenix to draw attention away from the teams star player.
Case in point, if the Phoenix Suns can get the International MVP Ricky Rubio, then they will have a very good chance at being a vastly improved team. The key pieces they have in Deandre Ayton and star guard Devin Booker along with some good shooters, Rubio can be the one piece that ties this knot all together.