In late July of 2020, the Timberwolves traded Rubio to Cleveland for Taurean Prince. Rubio's second stint with Minnesota did not go as planned. The 10-year veteran posted per-game career lows in points (8.6) and minutes (26.1) per game, and he had his second-worst season in assists (6.4). Plus, after four years of shooting better than 40 percent from the field, Rubio's field goal percentage slipped to 38.5 percent, and he hit only 30.8 percent of his attempted three-pointers. In Cleveland, he's backing up two young studs in Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. Both guards are entering their age-22 seasons and averaged 33-plus minutes per game last year, so floor-time opportunities might be minor for Rubio. Remember, even though Sexton is the starting shooting guard, he still dished 4.4 assists per game last year and is capable of running the show. On the positive, Rubio is still a sneaky source for steals, as he's averaged 1.4 thefts per game over his past three seasons. Overall, though, a further decline in Rubio's counting stats seems likely.
Rubio enjoyed a revival in his first year with the upstart Suns, getting back to his Minnesota-level production with his new team. While a member of the Jazz from 2017-19, Rubio played off ball frequently and ceded usage to Donovan Mitchell, but he played the role of true point guard in his inaugural season with Phoenix. Rubio averaged 13.8 points, 8.8 assists and 4.7 boards across 31 minutes, and the boards and assists were both the second-highest totals of his career. Rubio shot a career-best 36.1 percent from deep while canning 1.4 shots from beyond the arc. He also swiped 1.4 steals to return some three-and-D value at point guard. Still just 30 years old, Rubio appears to have plenty of gas left in the tank entering his 10th NBA season. He'll be on a "new" team again after he was dealt to the Timberwolves -- the team that drafted him in 2009 -- during the 2020 Draft. He's joining a revamped Wolves team with Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell and rookie Anthony Edwards. Rubio and Russell should start together in the backcourt, with Rubio likely facilitating much of the offense while Russell can focus more on doing what he does best -- scoring. As a result, it wouldn't be surprising if we saw Rubio have a repeat season.
Rubio bounced back in the assist department in 2018-19 (6.1 APG) after a down year in 2017-18 (5.3 APG). He scored at the second-highest clip of his career, with 12.7 points per game, though his 16.4 PPG per 36 minutes was a new career best. While he took a step in the right direction scoring and assisting, Rubio's shooting percentages waned from 41.8 percent from the field to 40.4 percent and 35.2 percent from three to 31.1 percent. He also recorded career lows in rebounds (3.6) and steals (1.3). His underwhelming stint in Utah is over after two years, where he leaves behind averages of 12.9 points, 5.7 assists and 1.5 steals after averaging 10.4 points, 8.5 assists and 2.1 steals in six seasons with Minnesota. A likely explanation for the sharp drop off in assists in Utah is the high usage of Donovan Mitchell. In 2018, Mitchell had a 30.9 usage rate, seventh highest among players with at least 1900 minutes. Though he will join another high-usage two-guard in Devin Booker, it's possible that Rubio is given the keys to run the offense and play a more traditional point guard role as he did for the Timberwolves. The Suns hope Rubio can be the floor general they've been looking for, and with a talented young core in Booker, DeAndre Ayton, Kelly Oubre and Cam Johnson, he'll have no shortage of playmakers to assist.
In a strange turn of events, Rubio set a career high in scoring (13.1 PPG) and a dramatic career-low 5.3 assists per game (while actually seeing his turnover rate increase) after averaging 8.5 assists across his first six seasons. Though some of that was due to Utah’s slow pace, the emergence of Donovan Mitchell as an unexpectedly high-usage player during his rookie campaign lowered Rubio’s passing upside and turned him into more of an off-ball player. On a positive note, Rubio improved his range, setting career highs in both threes made per game (1.2) and three-point percentage (35.2). Still, in this situation, it doesn't appear Rubio is a nightly 10-plus assist, three-plus steal threat any longer. In 2016-17, Rubio posted 34 games with 10-plus dimes and, in 2015-16, posted 33 games with at least three steals. Last year, those tallies dropped to seven and 15, respectively. A confusing turn of events aside, Rubio still has top-50 upside considering his under-appreciated rebounding ability (4.6), proficiency from the charity stripe (86.6 percent) and overall solid health (at least 75 games played over the past three campaigns).
Rubio will be joining a new team, the Jazz, for the first time in his career after debuting during the 2011-12 season with the Timberwolves. The Minnesota brass seemingly wasn’t worried about giving him up in order to replace him with Jeff Teague, as Rubio has struggled to reach the high standards many scouts assigned him. The main knock to his game thus far has been his scoring ability, or lack thereof. Last season was his most efficient year in the league, though he still shot just 40.2 percent from the field and went a subpar 60-of-196 (30.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Considering the Jazz lost both Gordon Hayward’s and George Hill’s offensive production to other teams, Rubio will certainly have to attempt to carry some of the scoring load, though there’s been little indication that he’s ready for a breakout campaign in that department. There’s seemingly no reason he shouldn’t be able to continue his work as a premier dime dropper, however. Last season, he posted a career-high 9.1 assists across 32.9 minutes per game. He provided solid value as a rebounder (4.1) and defender (1.7 steals) as well. With that in mind, Rubio’s Fantasy value is likely similar to what is was last season, though it’s not misguided to believe he could jump a few spots in the point guard rankings.
Rubio once again provided stellar averages in assists (8.7 per game) and steals (2.1) last season, but failed to demonstrate improvement as a shooter, averaging 10.1 points per game on an ugly 37.4 percent from the field. It’s difficult to call Rubio a disappointment though, as he essentially met his career averages across the board. Now five years into his NBA career, it may simply be unrealistic to expect the 25-year-old to become a more efficient offensive player. All signs point to Rubio opening the season as the Timberwolves’ starting point guard, but the addition of No. 5 overall pick Kris Dunn raises some questions. The prevailing belief was that Minnesota would look to deal one of Dunn or Rubio after the draft, but the team has held steadfast to the notion that the pair can coexist. That very well may be the case, but Rubio’s minutes will likely decline to accommodate Dunn, and there’s still a chance he could be dealt, particularly if Dunn shines early in the season.
After the 2013-14 season saw Rubio play all 82 games for the first time in his career, a severe ankle sprain cost him all but 22 contests in 2014-15. The injury concerns will be present. He has averaged 31.5 missed games per season over his career, but when Rubio plays, he's a valuable fantasy asset. With 2014-15 averages of 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.6 three-pointers per game, Rubio is capable of putting up a buffet of counting stats. His shooting percentage will likely still be awful. He has never shot above 39 percent from the field in a season, but the 24-year-old enters the new campaign as the unquestioned point guard (about 32 minutes per game in 2014-15) on a team that boasts a crew of explosive, athletic pieces. That means Rubio could be in line for plenty of easy assist opportunities to the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, providing a boost to his already elite potential in that category. As a player who is still quite young despite entering his fifth season in the NBA, it's possible that Rubio's shooting and scoring numbers become more bearable, but his real value lies in his assists, steals, and above-average rebounds for his position.
For the first time in his three-year career, Ricky Rubio proved that he could stay healthy throughout an 82-game NBA season. After missing at least 25 games in his first two seasons, the Spanish point guard played all 82 games and averaged 32 minutes per game last season. Rubio will be 24 years old before the start of the 2014-15 season, so he may be maturing into his body. Fantasy owners can only hope that he develops a better shooting stroke. Last season, he averaged a career-low 9.5 points on 38 percent from the field (sadly, a career high), 33 percent on three-pointers, and 80 percent from the line. The 6-4 guard also provided 4.2 rebounds, 8.6 assists (fourth-best in the league), and 2.3 steals (second best). With Kevin Love in Cleveland, the team has no clear number one option on offense (although it could be Kevin Martin or Thaddeus Young), so new coach Flip Saunders may hope that Rubio can provide more scoring production. Rubio can improve his field goal percentage by taking easier shots and getting to the free-throw line. (He has hit 80 percent of his freebies over his career.) Fantasy teams can use Rubio as a two-category stud (assists and steals) and hope that he will improve even marginally in field goal percentage and points.
If "fun to watch" was a fantasy category, Rubio would be a top-five player. His creativity on offense, his ball-handling and his pinpoint passes have made him a big favorite in the NBA blogosphere. But his actual production – in fantasy terms, at least – has a ways to go before it catches up to his reputation. He's an excellent source of assists (7.3 apg in 2012-13) and steals (2.4), and a better-than-average rebounder (4.0 rpg) for his position – but he can't shoot. Rubio's field goal percentage from the floor last season looked like other guards' shooting from three – and his three-point percentage was in John Wall territory. The return of Kevin Love should help Rubio's numbers; due to a variety of injuries, Minnesota's two biggest attractions only appeared together in five games last year.
Rubio accomplished a remarkable feat in his first NBA season. He made general manager David Kahn look awfully smart. The Spanish phenom was having a rookie of the year-type campaign, averaging 10.6 points, over eight assists, four rebounds and two steals per game--and shooting a much better-than-expected 34 percent from three-point range--when his knee gave out. He suffered tears to his ACL and LCL on March 9, ending his rookie year and putting his status for the start of the 2012-13 season into question. When he does return, he'll be the established starter on a Minnesota team that is quickly growing into a dangerous team, which will only help his overall numbers.
Minnesota took Rubio with the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, but he elected to play professionally in Spain the past two seasons. He's been a professional player since age 14 and played for Spain in the 2008 Olympics and won a silver medal, drawing raves from NBA players in the competition for his passing ability. He's seen as a pass-first point guard with great court vision, but questions remain about his ability to shoot. Amid speculation he'd demand to be traded away from Minnesota, he finally signed a contract to play in the NBA in June. Though it's sometimes hard to translate production in European leagues to projected production in the NBA, it's worth noting that Rubio is coming to the NBA with a lot of question marks in his game. Through 54 professional games in 2010-11, Rubio shot under 33 percent from the field (including under 25 percent from beyond the arc). In 20 games with Regal Barcelona, he averaged just 6.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 23 minutes. One bright spot in his stat line is the 1.7 steals he averaged in those limited minutes. He's a candidate to hit the rookie wall and hit it hard at some point. Though he's been playing professionally since the 2005-06 season, Rubio has never averaged more than 23 minutes per game over the course of a season. Head coach Rick Adelman has been impressed by his play early in training camp and he'll likely begin the season as the starting point guard. However, he may be inconsistent given his age (just 21) and as he adapts to the NBA.