The Phoenix Suns player who benefited most from the COVID-19-induced mid-season break was overworked point guard, Ricky Rubio.
NBA players are world-class athletes and even in the offseason, most play basketball year-round. However, there is a big difference between Phoenix Suns players, Devin Booker getting doubled-teamed in a pick-up game last August and Ricky Rubio’s summer in China at the FIBA World Cup.
While Booker was clearly working hard with what he had – maybe Team USA will remember that next summer – Ricky Rubio was leading his home country, Spain, to the World Cup title. Rubio who was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, averaging more than 16 points and six assists on 26-plus minutes across the eight contests.
Rubio joins some elite company with the tournament MVP and possibly as a good omen for the Suns. The last three players to win the MVP have all won an NBA title as well; Dirk Nowitzki (2002), Kevin Durant (2010), and Kyrie Irving (2014).
Rubio’s most instrumental outing was probably Spain’s semi-final victory over Australia, where he dominated with 19 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds in 38 minutes.
The Spanish maestro followed that performance up with 20 points, on just 11 shots in only 23 minutes in the 95-75 pasting of Argentina. It was the kind of laugher Team USA used to put-up in the finals of these kinds of tournaments, but instead was a triumph for Rubio, Spain, and international basketball.
Phoenix Suns point guard, Ricky Rubio, is finally getting much-needed rest.
Spain and Rubio played that championship game on September 15 and then the Suns played their first regular-season game on October 23, just over a month later. While one would think Rubio got to rest during that month, he was traveling back from China, and then training camp was starting.
So, for Ricky, the 2018-19 season ended, he signed with the Suns in July. He got a little rest then went into training with the national team and led his team to victory in China in August and September. Then he moved to Phoenix and set up shop for the Suns all before training camp in late September. Factor in Ayton’s 25 game suspension – yes that was this season – and the fact that Rubio will be 30 before the start of next season and you have a player in need of rest.
Ricky’s rest is particularly important given the fact that Ricky Rubio, more than any player, makes the Suns go. Booker scores the points, Ayton gives them promise, and Oubre makes fans jump up and smile; but it is Ricky Rubio firing on all cylinders that makes that possible.
It is Rubio who can bring out the best in this group.
Remember the Phoenix Suns a season-and-a-half ago when they did not have a point guard? I know fans don’t want too, but fortunately, they don’t have too, because the Suns have a point guard who has some experience in an eight-game tournament and is rested and ready to go.