The Phoenix Suns are hurting themselves BAD by not helping Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Ricky Rubio’s falling off from the pace he began the year is primarily centered around his FIBA play this past summer. He needs to rest, and the Phoenix Suns aren’t helping him out at all.

Several years ago FIBA changed their rules to place their World Cup the year before the Olympics, not two years before, as had been the schedule since 1970.

As such, NBA players like Ricky Rubio who play for their national teams, are forced to play difficult tournaments during back-to-back summers, which congests their offseasons and prevents the necessary time for rest and recuperation which prepare them for the long grind of the NBA regular season.

Because of Rubio’s participation in both the World Cup last summer as well as the Olympics this summer, the protection of his health (and in particular his overall work load) must become a two-year issue for the Phoenix Suns that must  begin to be paid attention to, immediately.

After a fantastic start to the regular season, his play has obviously and statistically hit a lull.

From the beginning of the season through December 31, Rubio averaged a very Steve Nash-like 14.2 points, 9.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game (with an un-Nash-like 32.0% from 3 and 41.7% from the field).

Since January 1, (although his 3-point shooting percentage has jumped to 36.0%), Rubio is averaging just 9.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.0 rebounds, along with a stable, 1.5 steals.

If the problem with his play during the second half of this season is due in any level to exhaustion, and it in any way can be traced to his participation in the World Cup, then he is sure to fail to keep his legs again in the second half of 2020-21, which can be even more  detrimental to the franchise than it even is now – if James Jones is actually able to put together a legitimate playoff-contending team this summer.

Seriously – imagine the team actually  being good, finally, and Rubio falling apart just as the playoffs come into view because of two consecutive offseasons of World Cup and Olympics play.

Possibly resting him on one night of a back-to-back might  help in the long run overall, however, there are only three more of those such events on the schedule the rest of the way, lessening the effectiveness of that strategy.

So, what could  they do?