Brad Rock: Even on quiet nights, Jazz’s Rubio is moving the meter

SALT LAKE CITY — Point guard news from the Jazz has been coming fast as the Jazz continue their playoff push. Raul Neto is expected out for a couple of weeks with a fractured hand. On Tuesday, word came that Dante Exum is nearing a return.

If Exum were around for the playoff run, it may or may not add to the Jazz’s chances, depending on his conditioning. But it can’t hurt. The other thing that can’t hurt is the fact Ricky Rubio is playing the best of his career. No Jazz development this season has been more unlikely than the way he has performed in recent weeks.

Just call him Ricky Redonkulous, stat-stuffer supreme.

Sunday in a win at New Orleans, he had 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. In Tuesday’s 110-79 win over Detroit, he was lower profile, frostier from the field, but still effective with nine assists.

Good enough to be relevant, smart enough not to force it.

“Will Ricky Rubio make a difference down the stretch?” asked in a March 6 headline.

The Jazz are pretty high on a guy from Spain, via Minnesota, who was originally saddled with the onerous title of “the next Pete Maravich.” That’s a heavy load for anyone, especially one who has been hearing it since he was a teenager.

“For Pete’s sake, Rubio has the look,” said a San Francisco Chronicle headline in 2008. That was when Rubio was 17 and playing for Spain’s Olympic team.

Two years later, The New York Times featured this headline: “Ricky Rubio at 19: The Prodigy Is Coming of Age.”

That is actually happening now, in a less showy form, but the Jazz are loving the production.

Rubio has always been respected in the U.S., but poor shooting relegated him to novelty status in Minnesota. Fifteen months ago, the Twin Cities Star Tribune ran this headline: “Ricky Rubio is the worst shooter in modern NBA history*.” The asterisk was because there were some qualifiers, such as available statistics from past seasons, minutes played, etc. But one writer’s formula had him at the bottom of the heap.

Good news for Dennis Rodman.

But weren’t the Maravich comparisons a bit crazy anyway?

“I don’t know, because I didn’t have those expectations,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I knew who he was. I think for any young player, that can be hard to handle.”

He went on to say Rubio has committed to working on things “we feel he …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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