Ricky Rubio endeared himself in the hearts of all Utah Jazz fans last season for many reasons, but one was certainly the fact that he improved in a lot of ways from his Minnesota days.
The Spaniard set career-highs in 3-point percentage, 3-point attempts, field goal percentage all while increasing his points per game.
One question remains: can he do it again? ESPN’s Zach Lowe opened his article “The six most intriguing NBA players this season” with this question, closing with how important Rubio will be to Utah’s 2018-19 season.
Rubio has to sustain this for Utah to continue climbing. It won’t be easy. There will be nights when Rubio spends too much time in the corner, a passive decoy defenses ignore. His jumper will hit troughs. The Rubio/Gobert/Derrick Favors trio needs to show it can survive on offense over a full season; Favors’ improvement on corner 3s and as a playmaker in space will be crucial, too.
Rubio is a free agent this summer, and not yet 28. The Jazz could have a bonanza of cap space. If the Rubio-Mitchell partnership thrives, they will sacrifice a lot of it to keep building.
Lowe also spent a lot of time doing some storytelling and breaking down what Rubio does in Snyder’s system so it’s worth a read just for that.
The offseason is filled with hype, preseason rankings, predictions and the like. ESPN has been releasing their Top 100 player rankings sequentially this week and Rudy Gobert got a bit of disrespect coming in at 23 behind guys like Kyle Lowry (21) and Karl-Anthony Towns (17).
It can easily be argued by anyone not on points per game Twitter that Rudy Gobert is a top-15, probably even top 10, player. His A+ defense and overall positive offensive impact make him worthy of that discussion. But great defense doesn’t earn you hype the way triple-doubles and 30-point games do.
Jazz fans might be salty over the disrespect but Rudy himself is taking the shade how he normally does.
If there’s one mistake you can make in the NBA, it’s giving Rudy Gobert extra motivation.
Donovan Mitchell has been making the rounds at BYU and Utah college football games but hasn’t made it up north to Utah State or Weber State. On Saturday he’ll check off one of those when he visits Maverick Stadium when the Aggies play Air Force.
Being mostly overlooked, USU fans and administrators were practically begging Mitchell to come up to Logan, though it didn’t seem to take long for Mitchell to agree to visit. The athletics department is fully ready for Mitchell, along with Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang to be on the sidelines Saturday.
Wednesday almost every Jazz fan was struck with 19th-century fainting lady syndrome when we got a peek at the throwbacks to be worn this season by the Jazz. Utah has now released the games the team will wear the jerseys so circle them on your calendars now.
Mark up your calendar!— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) September 21, 2018
Here are the dates we're wearing each of our jerseys
In more small-time news, Georges Niang welcomed Royce O’Neale into the wonderful Larry H. Miller used car world.