By: Jonah Sprinkel
Ricky Rubio's career in Minnesota has been nothing short of tumultuous. Between injuries, head coaching changes, different "franchise players", trade rumors, and the seemingly never ending playoff drought, Rubio has seen it all here in the Twin Cities. In the midst of everything, he has been a constant leader.
Recently the Timberwolves have been attempting to claw their way back into sole possession of the coveted eighth seed in the Western Conference. Karl-Anthony Towns has been the unstoppable force in recent weeks. However, Ricky Rubio has been the orchestra director who has been playing the best basketball of his career.
Statistics aside, Rubio has been doing everything for this hungry Wolves squad. He's constantly talking and directing on both sides of the ball while thinking two steps ahead of the defense. If there's a loose ball in Rubio's vicinity it's very common to see him sprawled out on the floor in an attempt to regain possession. And haters be damned he seems to have developed the ability to score the basketball.
But statistics are fun!
In the last 13 games, the Timberwolves are 8-5 with wins over the Nuggets, Warriors, Jazz, Clippers and Wizards. In this same span Rubio is averaging 13.6 points, 11.5 assists, 5 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 3.3 turnovers on 43.9% from the field and 31.1% from beyond the arc.
March has been the most favorable to Rubio's shooting touch. In six games to start the month of March, Rubio has averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 2.2 turnovers while shooting 45.5% from the field and 36.4% from three point land. Even when his shot hasn't fallen Rubio has found a way to put points on the board as evidenced by his 17 points in the win over Golden State despite going three of 10 from the field.
From Rubio's first day in a Timberwolves jersey fans in Minneapolis have been divided on the Spaniard. Some will tell you that the Wolves lose simply because of Rubio's poor shooting. Others say that Rubio does everything else on the court so well that the shooting problems don't matter. The reality is that Rubio has become the leader of a team that desperately wants to be in the playoffs.
The sun seems to be setting on the Ricky Rubio era, and with 16 games left in the season, he's giving Timberwolves fans the best point guard performance they've seen since Sam Cassell. Playoffs or not, let's all sit back and enjoy Rubio and his infectious smile while we still can.