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Updated: February 10th, 2014 2:13pm
Can Ricky Rubio carry more of the scoring load with key starters down?

Can Ricky Rubio carry more of the scoring load with key starters down?

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

We can say this in year three of Ricky Rubio's career: he's a good player. He elevates the level of the team when he's on the floor with his passing, on-ball defense, rebounding and in other areas.

We also can say this: his shooting needs to improve.

Here's a little fun with numbers: Saturday's loss to Portland is the first time this season Rubio has hit multiple 3-point shots and the Wolves have lost. They were 6-0 before Saturday. Rubio connected on two of his four 3-pointers, yet the Wolves lost 117-110.

Date

Opponent

Rubio's 3-pointers

Result

11/1

Oklahoma City

2-3

W, 100-81

11/10

L.A. Lakers

2-2

W, 113-90

11/22

Brooklyn

2-3

W, 111-81

12/11

Philadelphia

2-3

W, 106-99

12/15

Memphis

2-3

W, 101-93

1/10

Charlotte

2-3

W, 119-92

2/8

Portland

2-4

L, 117-110

There's nothing to the multiple-made-three-pointers theory, but it's just an interesting nugget. I was surprised to see that Rubio went 5-for-6 from downtown in a game last season, a win against the Milwaukee Bucks in April.

His 34.9 percent clip from long range would make him 27th among NBA point guards if he qualified for the leaderboard on ESPN.com. For comparison, J.J. Barea is 35th (33.6 percent).

Rubio's 35.9 field-goal percentage would be last among qualified NBA point guards.

He's an 83 percent free throw shooter, which is fine. He's 13th among NBA point guards in free throw percentage this season.

Flip Saunders recently shared his theory in a 1500 ESPN interview that Rubio needs to work at shots on the move - finishing at the rim and coming off screens, as opposed to setting his feet for a jumper.

Rubio's poor shooting isn't the entire reason the Wolves seemingly are capped as a middling NBA team. But it's part of the reason.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: J.J. Barea, Ricky Rubio
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