Is Ricky Rubio the Next Rajon Rondo?

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 29:  Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles away from a fallen Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With the return of Ricky Rubio in the middle of December came the return of one of the most exciting play-makers in the NBA.

Rubio has been an incredible playmaker for the duration of his time in the NBA, which has, admittedly, been an extremely short period of time. He's averaging eight assists per game so far in the NBA.

For each of those eight assists, he ends up with one or two plays a game that makes your jaw drop and a guttural noise creep its way out of your mouth.

Quite bluntly, he's magnificent to watch.

With a player that young making such terrific plays, it's easy to ignore the negative side of his game, which do start to mount up when you take a look at how he plays.

Defensively, he's a huge work in progress. He's capable of sticking his hands out and grabbing a number of steals, but he tends to gamble. He can be beaten off the dribble and he's still learning to play as a part of the system.

In that sense, he is definitely unlike Rajon Rondo. He's capable of racking up steals, but that's about the extent of their similarities.

Offensively, they're starting to look like spitting images. There's got to be a concern about the fact that he can't consistently knock down his jumpers. Hell, he can't even get to the rim with regularity.

Last season, 107 of his 389 shots were at the rim, and he was only able to knock down 47 percent of them.

The similarities between he and Rondo offensively come when they handle the ball and take shots from outside the paint.

Last season, Rondo obviously shot a better percentage than Rubio. This was mostly because Rondo can get to the Rim and Rubio is scrawny and easier to block.

Outside of that, they're two extremely similar players.

As far as point guards go, they're two of the best passers in the NBA. Not only can they rack up the assist numbers, but they can get the crowd up and off their feet with just a flick of the wrist.

There are angles and passing lanes throughout the course of a game that only Rubio and Rondo can see in the entire NBA. They've got a sixth sense for passing.

Both have troubles shooting the farther they get from the rim.

Last season, in a larger sample size, the two shot eerily similar numbers from the paint outside of the restricted zone, Rubio at 23 percent, Rondo at 29, and from mid-range, Rubio at 33 percent and Rondo at 39.

Rubio was effective from the corner, shooting 48 percent to Rondo's 33 percent on corner threes, while they were both equally ineffective from above the break, Rubio at 29 percent and Rondo at 22.

While he was just a rookie last season, Rubio's 38 percent shooting from the floor isn't soothing any fears.

As he goes along, however, he should be able to learn to get to the rim more efficiently, and just like Rondo is doing this season, learn when to take the best possible mid-range shots. And in the long run, it's not such a bad thing to be compared to Rajon Rondo.