Should the Utah Jazz Re-sign Ricky Rubio?
Following the departure of starting point guard George Hill after the 2016-17 season, the Utah Jazz were in need of a replacement.
The Minnesota Timberwolves eventually traded their once treasured prospect Ricky Rubio to the Jazz for a 2018 first-round draft pick acquired previously from the Oklahoma City Thunder. (The Timberwolves used the pick to select Josh Okogie out of Georgia Tech with the 20th pick in the draft.)
With Ricky Rubio set to become an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason, the question of “Should the Utah Jazz bring Ricky Rubio back?” is on the horizon.
Here are a few moves the Jazz could make to keep or replace Rubio:
Re-Sign Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio’s performance in a Utah Jazz uniform has been quite a rollercoaster, especially in terms of shooting. However, the point guard out of Spain managed to achieve the highest Field Goal Percentage of his career (41.8 percent), Three Point Percentage (35.2 percent), and was ranked 14th in real plus-minus amongst all NBA point guards for the Jazz last year.
While those percentages are not ideal for a starting point guard in the modern NBA, the signs of improvement could be a silver lining for the future.
Unfortunately, the Jazz do lack spacing in their starting unit with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors in the post. The team has struggled to score when Rubio is not hitting from the field and unable to space the floor — opposing teams will conspicuously dare Rubio to shoot in order to protect the paint.
It’s too early to tell what the market will be like for Rubio this summer, but if he is willing to sign a short-term deal or a “hometown discount,” then it could be a bargain for the Jazz if he continues his progress and they sign more floor-spacers.
Find a New PG in Free Agency
I won’t speculate too much on who or if the Jazz should go after a point guard in free agency because it’s way too early, but here is a list of some upcoming free agents the Jazz could possibly look into to replace Rubio:
• Jeremy Lin •Kyrie Irving • Terry Rozier (Restricted)
• D’Angelo Russell (Restricted) • Spencer Dinwiddie • Kemba Walker
• Isaiah Thomas • Quinn Cook • Darren Collison • Cory Joseph
• Milos Teodosic (Restricted) • Patrick Beverley • Rajon Rondo
• Goran Dragic (Player) • Eric Bledsoe • Malcolm Brogdon (Restricted)
• Jeff Teague (Player) • Tyus Jones (Restricted) • Derrick Rose
• T.J. McConnell • Seth Curry • Delon Wright (Restricted) • Austin Rivers
Package Rubio in a Trade
The Jazz have arguably one of the deepest benches in the league, particularly at the guard position.
After drafting Duke guard Grayson Allen, many were skeptical of how the minutes would be strategically allocated amongst the young and talented guard core.
Alec Burks impressed in training camp and worked his way up in the rotation, but Grayson Allen and Royce O’Neale have also had flashes in their limited time on the court this year.
With Ricky Rubio and Alec Burks both on expiring contracts, are there any potential trade packages which would benefit the Jazz and push them closer to the top of the Western Conference?
Pass the Torch to Dante Exum
Another option some fans have been vocal about would be letting Dante Exum take over the starting point guard position.
The Jazz decided to re-sign the Australian native to a three-year, 33 million dollar contract in the offseason, further signifying their faith in the 23-year-old guard.
However, in Exum’s injury-riddled career, he has a career 39.6 Field Goal Percentage and 30.6 Three Point Percentage. Based on those stats alone, Exum is also not solving the floor-spacing issue in the starting lineup for the Jazz.
We must also ask the question: “Is Dante Exum really a point guard?”
As we’ve seen so far this season, Coach Quin Snyder plays Exum as a combo-guard and even at the small forward position at times.
I will be completely honest; I love Dante Exum. His speed, athleticism and ability to get to the rim against any defender is eye-opening. Nevertheless, the Jazz are past rebuilding and need a point guard who can run the team and be a leader. Is he ready to take on that role?
The season is still very young, and the Jazz have plenty of time to evaluate Rubio’s future with the team.
As fans, it is easy for us to jump the gun and immediately react to Rubio’s performance so far this season.
And as writers…well, I just wrote an entire article about what the Jazz should do with Ricky Rubio.
Regardless of any outcome, the future remains bright.