Rubio to Elevate Suns Potential, Assist in Developing Young Core

by Cody Cunningham

When the Phoenix Suns signed Ricky Rubio, they not only received an elite playmaker and scrappy defender, but also a guy that’s going to make everyone around him better.

Rubio’s vision on the court and ability to find others on offense has credited him with elevating his teammate’s games throughout his eight-year career. Kevin Love (26.1 ppg.), Karl-Anthony Towns (25.1 ppg.), Andrew Wiggins (23.6 ppg.) and Rudy Gobert (15.9 ppg.) all notched career-highs in scoring while having Rubio as their point guard.

Now with the Suns, Rubio will have a chance to make a similar impact on Phoenix’s young core.

“We have a guy in Ricky that’s going to make everybody more efficient than they have been,” Suns Head Coach Monty Williams said. “As a coach, you want to have someone on the floor that can manage the game from the point guard position and Ricky certainly does that for us. I think he’s going to make me a better coach. Our conversations have been really thought provoking just to hear how he sees the game.”

Rubio has already been in contact with teammates Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton and is looking forward to finally getting to work with them. 

“I can help them reach the level they deserve,” Rubio said. “Deandre, Devin Booker, I’ve been talking to them the last couple days and they’re really excited too. Can’t wait to jump on the court and start working with them.”

Booker finished seventh in the NBA and second all-time in Suns history with 26.6 points per game last season. While it’s hard to imagine that his scoring will increase substantially this year, his efficiency and shooting percentages may see new heights due to Rubio running the point.

“I think Devin’s going to be more efficient than he’s been and Devin has been a really good player,” Williams said. “I think when you have a point guard like Ricky, nothing in the NBA is easy, but a point guard can make things easier when you’re facing defenses that try to take you out every night. Which is what Devin faces.”

Not only does Williams see Rubio impacting Booker’s game, but the entire roster as a whole. Rubio’s past history with big men suggests that Deandre could have a strong sophomore campaign and Rubio’s ability to find teammates in transition will make players like Kelly Oubre Jr. become lethal on the fast break.

“Really excited how he’s going to make Kelly better in transition,” Williams said. “I think when you have a point guard like Ricky and guys like Kelly who can get out and run and make plays, that’s something that’s going to allow me more freedom to sit back and let our guys develop our culture offensively. Defensively, Ricky, Kelly, those guys give us the ability to switch and keep guys in front.”

The Suns showed flashes of where this team is headed near the end of last season and Oubre agrees with his coach that Rubio can help lead the Suns to reach their true potential.

“We have a true point guard and I’m excited to play with him,” I’ve played against him for about four years and I’ve seen his growth as a player. I’ve been watching Ricky Rubio and I’ve always respected his game. Now we’re on the same side together… Plus, I’m also excited to learn a little Español.”

While learning to communicate on the court may be more crucial than becoming bilingual off of it, Oubre and the rest of the Suns will look to learn, build off of and grow with their new veteran point guard in Rubio as the 2019-20 season approaches.

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