Jazz’s Ricky Rubio out vs. Knicks
According to the Utah Jazz, Ricky Rubio is out for Saturday night’s game against the New York Knicks with contusions to his left low back and left knee. Rubio is having an up-and-down season, but he’s still a strong presence in the Jazz’s starting lineup. Rubio is averaging 12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game this season.
Look for Dante Exum to assume a bigger role in Saturday night’s game. The 23-year-old is starting to show progress and is playing more like that of a fifth overall pick. It took Exum a few years to figure his game out, but he’s slowly coming along.
Furthermore, Donovan Mitchell hasn’t spent much time as a point guard this season (only five percent according to Basketball-Reference), but he will have to take on some ballhandling responsibilities in Rubio’s absence.
Even without Ricky Rubio, the Jazz should have no problem dispatching the hapless Knicks. Without Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks are one of the worst teams in the league. They are horrid on defense and are prone to lapses on offense. Although the Jazz have struggled for much of the season, the Knicks are in another class of hopelessness.
New York has lost its last six games and 13 of its last 15 contests. The only wins during that stretch came during miraculous overtime wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets. Despite those comeback victories, the Jazz should feel comfortable if they can jump out to an early lead.