The Philadelphia 76ers were one Kawhi Leonard shot away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. Pushing the eventual Eastern Conference champions to game 7 which came down to the wire is a big improvement from the previous season. The Sixers only have a few needs. One of them is finding a solid backup point guard. With free agency around the corner, there will be a number of solid options available. Today we focus on three reasons why Ricky Rubio could be that guy.
1. Providing a veteran Presence
Rubio has been in the league for eight years now. However, he is still just 28 years old. He’s been a starter for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz. The last two years he’s helped the Jazz reach the playoffs. For his career, the former lottery pick has averaged 11.1 points per game with 7.7 assists. A Pass first point guard Rubio could help mentor Ben Simmons.
Simmons is still just 22 years old and has plenty of room to grow. Having a veteran point guard who’s been through the ups and downs of the league will certainly help. Rubio is also someone who can push the pace and sustain the offense while Simmons is off the court.
2. Solid shooter
Now Rubio isn’t an elite scorer but you have to respect his shot. Whether we like it or not there is some truth to what Jared Dudley said about Simmons. He’s elite on the fast break but just average in the half court. Too frequently we’ve seen defenses giving Simmons tons of space daring him to shoot and him refusing to do so. This closes the lane and makes it harder to initiate the offense.
While Rubio isn’t a knockdown shooter last season he shot 31% from three which is respectable. For his career, he’s a 31% shooter from three. Another plus is Rubio’s free throw shooting. A career 83% shooter from the line would give the Sixers someone who can knock down free throws and get easy points. In addition to his shooting Rubio also averages 1.9 steals per game and 4.2 rebounds a game.
3. Good scheme fit
When you look at players like Fred VanVleet and George Hill they both came off the bench and excelled. The minutes that they are on the court they keep the pace going and each was a key part in each teams playoff push. Rubio is capable of doing the same. Given 15-20 minutes a game I believe Rubio should easily excel what the Sixers were getting from TJ McConnell.
Last season the Jazz were 14th in the league in terms of pace while the Sixers were 8th. By signing Rubio who shouldn’t be super expensive the team would just need a quality backup center to be ready to make a run at a championship. It would also allow Simmons a little more rest during the playoffs as he averaged over 35 minutes a game this postseason.
Three reasons why Rubio should be a Sixer
Free Agency begins on June 30th at 6 pm. These are just three reasons why Rubio should be playing in Philly next season. Would you like to see Rubio or another point guard in Philly? Let us know below.