Why the Minnesota Timberwolves Should Give Ricky Rubio Near-Max Deal

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Why the Minnesota Timberwolves Should Give Ricky Rubio Near-Max Deal
Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

After playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years, 23-year-old point guard Ricky Rubio is looking for a contract extension. Rubio's numbers may be modest, but he deserves a near-max deal.

He has a career average of 10.1 points and 8.1 assists per game.  

Over the past three years, Rubio has proven himself as an excellent facilitator (as seen in the GIF below). Last season, Rubio ranked second in total assists in the NBA.  

Not only has Rubio shown the ability to dish the rock, but he has also flashed some impressive ball-handling skills (as seen in the GIF below).

Rubio's numbers may not be as flashy as some of his dribbling moves, but he still deserves a big-time deal.  

Chandler Parsons recently signed a very lucrative offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks

It has been reported Rubio is looking for a similar contract:

This offseason, both Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons received near-max contracts, and their numbers are comparable to Rubio's.

Hayward and Parsons average practically twice as many points per game as Rubio, but their Player Efficiency Ratings are all very close (stats are courtesy of ESPN).   

Ricky Rubio PER 15.35
Chandler Parsons PER 15.90
Gordon Hayward PER 16.22

Last season, all three players shot over 30 percent from beyond and arc, and Rubio almost doubled their assists per game average. Not to mention Rubio ranked second last year in steals per game behind Chris Paul.  

Is Rubio worth max-contract money right now? Probably not, but he has the potential to be a top-five point guard down the road. Unfortunately, Rubio has not shown much progress throughout his career.

Over the past three seasons his assist numbers have been solid, but his scoring stats have not improved (as seen in the info graphic below).

Year 3P% PPG
2011-12 .340 10.6
2012-13 .293 10.7
2013-14 .331 9.5

His lack of scoring has made people hesitate when it comes to accepting him as a superstar. Even Marc Lamont Hill, CNN commentator, tweeted his opinion about Rubio:

Rubio's lack of progress may be due to the lack of talent surrounding him. In his career, his only offensive weapon has been Kevin Love, but Love has missed several games due to injury. It's probably no coincidence Rubio's worst year (2012-13) was the same year Love only played 18 games.  

Like any other pass-first guard, Rubio needs weapons around him in order to reach his full potential.  

If the Timberwolves do trade Love, it could result in a plethora of young talent to accompany Rubio. A team with Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Anthony Bennett three to five years down the road could be very dangerous.

Not to mention a pass-first point guard like Rubio could help these young players develop their offensive games.   

Rubio will probably never be a 20-points-a-night scorer, but he could become a player similar to Rajon Rondo.  

Rondo is also a great facilitator who has never averaged over 13.7 points per game throughout his eight-year career. However, Rondo has been a much more efficient scorer than Rubio, shooting 47.5 percent from the field.   

Rubio may never be a great scorer, but he does have a chance to be the best facilitator in the league.  The Timberwolves may not want to offer Rubio a near-max contract, but if they don't, someone else will.

 

All stats are courtesy of ESPN.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @SupermanJZ

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