Ricky Rubio has had his ups and downs already this season. He has shown flashes of being a truly incredible player that fits perfectly alongside a Rudy Gobert, while other times he shows he is still learning the chemistry of the team and where each player wants to get the ball. During Ricky’s career, you would often hear the commentary, “If Ricky could just shoot the ball, he’d be a star.” Well, we’ve seen games where Ricky could shoot the ball, and it was magnificent. The Ringer released an article on “The Real Ricky Rubio”, covering much of Ricky’s career up to this point, as well as what he still might become. Some excerpts:
Rubio has been many things in his 13-year professional career: prodigy, ghost, fan favorite, outcast. Now, sitting in a nondescript office one morning this month, in the practice facility of the team that has made him finally feel fully wanted, he leans back and says, “I feel ready to do something special. I feel ready to take the next step.” He pauses for a moment. His hair has grown long, his beard unruly. His voice carries a quiet confidence. “I’ve played with a lot of doubts the last few years. I don’t have any doubts anymore.” ...
“We understood his perceived deficiencies when we traded for him,” says Snyder. “We feel like he’s eager to improve and he can improve.” Snyder sees room for growth beyond his shooting, though. “The biggest thing we’re working on is his tempo,” Snyder says. “He’s so fast with the ball, but speed is not the answer for everything. If he learns how to change speeds, slow down at times, that makes his faster moments even faster. It will help his reads. It will get him in a better position for shots for himself or for others. I think when you see that, just the subtleties of working on tempo and angles, you’ll see that those things will make him a better shooter too.”
Ricky may not be a perfect player, but if he is able to gel with players like Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Rodney Hood and gang, he could be a solid Jazz point guard for years to come.
In other news, SBNations interviewed Charlotte Hornets Assistant Coach Stephen Silas, and gave us an insight of what a game day is like in the life of an NBA assistant coach. From morning shootaround, to 12:30pm film study, to 5pm arriving at the stadium, and the 7:30pm game on the road in Boston, no detail is spared. It’s quite an intriguing read. My favorite part is to see the coaches’ reactions after a tough road loss:
They’re still up a dozen points going into the fourth quarter, but that’s when things fall apart. Walker is suddenly the only player who can score and the Celtics make an inspired comeback to extend their winning streak to 12 games. It’s a brutal loss for the Hornets, even more so because it’s their fourth straight defeat and they won’t play again for five days.
As I head down the tunnel to catch up with Silas, Celtics coach Brad Stevens pulls me aside and says the Hornets were as prepared as any team they’ve played this season. “Whatever we did, they were on it,” Stevens says.
I relay the complement to Silas, who grimaces. “Great,” he says. “What does that get us?”
The Hornets mood is forlorn, even angry. Coaches and support staff walk by sporting thousand-yard stares. It’s only November, but these setbacks hurt. I ask Silas how he deals with the losses. “Not well,” he says.
He’s got family waiting for him and he’d rather not deal with any of that right now. There are postgame duties to handle on the plane ride home, and he’s already thinking of clips to show his guys. The Cavs’ report is waiting to be finalized when he lands.
The bus is leaving for the airport in 10 minutes, and it occurs to Silas that they’ve been on the road for a week and a half. As he searches for something positive, he says, “It will be good to go home.”
It’s a pretty lengthy read, but although it isn’t directly Utah Jazz related, it is interesting to see how an assistant coach fills his roles and helps the team. It gives us some perspective and gratitude for the talented assistants on our own team.
Over the weekend, Donovan Mitchell shared a special moment he had with his mother.
Nothing better than surprising your mom with a brand new car.— ESPN (@espn) November 19, 2017
Well done, Donovan Mitchell. pic.twitter.com/HvsX0AMkZG
It is cool to see the ties some of our players have with their family.
Hardwood Knocks’ Andy Bailey and Dan Favale discussed whether the Utah Jazz should or should not tank, because of the Rudy Gobert injury. You can listen to this via the link, or on your favorite podcast app, by looking up “Hardwood Knocks”, and listening to episode number 113. They start off with the Jazz talk, so no skipping to the middle of the podcast is required.
While us fans are hyper-competitive and want our team to win as much as possible, it might be easier to win more in the future if we maximized our assets including our draft picks. We might not be able to lose enough to earn a top three pick, but a #5 pick is arguably much more valuable than a #9-11 pick. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but if we are not going to be making the playoffs and fighting for a championship, the alternative is being in the lottery and fighting for a top pick. Maybe not looking at it as “purposeful losing”, but rather “trying to win the lottery” could make this idea more palatable.
However, regardless of the intention behind it, we may be losing a lot of games regardless of whether we call it “tanking” or not. Yet, I feel a quiet hope, like our Luke Skywalker is just about to appear on the horizon.
(Disclaimer: Not all writers on this blog support tanking.)
Sports Illustrated put out its ranking of the top 15 rookies. That always leads to the question, “Where did they put Donovan?” Often, Utah Jazz players suffer from being grossly underrated (see also, NBA 2017 Defensive Player of the Year results), but Donovan is really turning some national heads. He might be one of the few Jazz players who is rated fairly by national media.
Donovan Mitchell does most of what Dennis Smith Jr. does, but he's got more size, and he's better on defense. For the month of November, he's averaging 19.9 PPG, 2.4 APG, and 3 RPG, with 42% shooting and 34% from three. Mitchell will have to become a better passer, and his offense needs to become more efficient, but for a player who was expected to be a 3–and–D specialist or maybe a fifth starter, Mitchell has already blown a lot of minds with the Jazz.
What does your list of top 5 rookies look like?