The Phoenix Suns have listed Ricky Rubio as optimistic for tonight’s game against the Wizards, which is reason to be optimistic.
Coming into this season the point guard position looked like the one position the Phoenix Suns didn’t have to worry too much about. They were coming in four deep, with free agent Ricky Rubio leading an inexperienced back-up unit.
Then the back-up unit got thin.
Second year man Jevon Carter started the season strong, but then his game zigged when it should have zagged. Where his shot use to splash, he’s now having a hard time hitting the ocean falling off a surf board. It has gotten to the point where he won’t go surfing in ankle-high swell with nobody watching.
Okay, enough of that metaphor.
All this has opened up playing time for fellow second year man, Elie Okobo. Over the last four games he has seen his playing time increase and is putting up decent numbers in the process, but it hasn’t translated into team success. It’s not his fault. He’s a combo guard forced to play the role of a facilitator, something against his nature.
You can’t fight nature, not successfully. Just ask Thor Heyerdahl.
So what do you do? When rain starts to pour and you’re standing on a slippery slope as the foundation starts crumbling from under your feet?
What do you when nature fights back?
You bring back Ricky Rubio. Naturally.
Bringing back the man who was largely responsible for orchestrating the Phoenix Suns’ hot start—even in diminished playing time—would be a massive course correction for a ship that looks lost at sea for large chunks of the last few games.
Rubio is among the league leaders in assists per game, averaging over eight per, while only playing 30 minutes a game. In a system that emphasizes spacing and ball movement, he is the catalyst.
But assists can be easy to come by if you only pass when a player has a clear look at the bucket. What Rubio brings is more than eight assists a game. His assists to pass % is way below the other assist leaders, meaning he’s not looking for the assist, he’s looking for the right basketball play.
His passing is always leading up to something, whether off his initial pass or three passes later, it’s meant to free up shooting. For all Carter’s or Okobo’s well meaning, this just isn’t the case when they’re in the game.
Phoenix Suns fans hope Ricky is able to go, if not tonight, then sooner rather than later, and can bring order out of the chaos, and restore the Suns to their natural order—a playoff long shot. I, for one, am looking forward to it…naturally.