The Phoenix Suns’ decision to sign veteran point guard Ricky Rubio over the summer seems to be paying dividends, as the team is off to a great start and the Spanish-born ball handler is playing well.
Rubio officially signed with the Suns back in June, agreeing to the terms of a three-year, $51 million deal. Most hoops fans will remember his stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, but now the 29-year-old is making waves in Phoenix:
“This summer we set out to improve our team,” Suns GM James Jones said after signing Rubio. “We had two positions of need, primarily the point guard position. I’m just really excited. I know myself, Coach Monty, the entire organization, we’re just really thrilled to have Ricky with us. Knowing that his experience, his winning pedigree, his ability to control a team, run a team, lead a team is something that we missed, something that we hadn’t had recently in Phoenix.”
It’s only a small sample, but Rubio is proving to be a solid pickup for the Suns, who are now 5-2 through the early stages of this campaign. Phoenix is riding a three-game winning streak and off to its best seven-game start since 2013.
In his six appearances with the Suns thus far, Rubio has racked up averages of 12.7 points on 37.1 percent shooting from the field (40.0 percent from beyond the arc), 8.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 32.5 minutes per outing. While his overall field goal percentage is poor, he’s making an impact in so many other ways and shooting the 3-ball well.
Rubio is seeing the floor well. In fact, he had 21 points and 10 assists for the Suns in Monday night’s 114-109 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, who came into the matchup unbeaten. He also knocked down all six of his attempts at the free-throw line. With the win, Phoenix moved three games over .500 for the first time in over four years.
Two of Rubio’s assists in Monday night’s game went to Devin Booker, who led the Suns in scoring with 40 points. According to ESPN, Booker is now the eighth-youngest player in NBA history to score 6,000 points. So far, the two players appear to be a nice pairing, and Booker is making a case for All-Star candidacy. Booker finally getting a real point guard next to him is working wonders.
For a variety of reasons, the Suns struggled to find a rhythm over the past four years (87-241 record over that span). In fact, Phoenix won just 19 games last season. Now, however, the team could be primed for a playoff push under new head coach Monty Williams.
Some experts thought the Suns’ decision to sign Rubio was questionable, but he’s clearly proving the naysayers wrong. Let’s see if he can maintain this level of play as the season progresses.