Who starts at point guard? That’s a question that dominates Celtics discussions since Kemba Walker was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard are the only primary ball handling guards left on this current iteration of the roster.
Cap space is minimal, trade assets negligible, and realistic options don’t exactly get the pulse racing. So, what are the Celtics plans with the point guard position? According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Celtics are one of multiple teams currently doing their due diligence on Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio.
#Timberwolves PG Ricky Rubio brilliant today, as Spain beat Argentina. Among teams doing trade due-diligence on him: #Celtics, #Clippers, #Lakers. Rubio finished today’s game with 26 points. Appears Leandro Bolmaro only got garbage time run for Argentina. pic.twitter.com/nFv8u3SCd2— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) July 29, 2021
After multiple seasons of opting to have a scoring guard such as Walker and Kyrie Irving, Rubio would signal a change of approach for the Celtics, with the 30-year-old better known for his passing and playmaking abilities. Throughout Rubio’s seven years in the league, he is averaging 11 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game on 51.5% true shooting.
With only one year left on his contract, Rubio could be available for trade should the deal suit the Timberwolves. However, with that final year set to net Rubio $17,800,000 it remains to be seen if the Celtics or any other team firm up their interest in the pass-first guard.
Obviously, there’s also questions surrounding Rubio’s fit alongside the Celtics star wing pairing of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown due to the lack of spacing the 6-foot-3 Spanish playmaker provides. Luckily, a pass first guard could be exactly what the Celtics need to unlock further layers of Tatum and Brown’s scoring ability, something which Stevens has spoke about since undertaking his role as President of Basketball Operations.
One major theme of Brad Stevens’ press conference: He intends to find a roster to accentuate the team’s wings. A lot of decisions moving forward will be on how to maximize the Celtics’ best players.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) June 21, 2021
Defensively, Rubio is no slouch. He may not be a point-of-attack anchor but his ability to jump the passing lanes and pilfer opponents from behind can be invaluable to a higher-tempo offense.
“Everybody that has played in the league knows that Rubio is laying in the weeds waiting to steal the ball. He’s unbelievable at reading plays, he’ll shoot the gap. You also saw that from Jaden McDaniels and Anthony Edwards, but it started with Rubio.” Brad Stevens said after the Celtics played Minnesota back in April.
Here’s a full breakdown of Rubio’s potential fit with the Celtics.
Rubio is currently in Tokyo with the Spanish national team, and recently helped his country to victory over Argentina with a 26-point, 4-assist, 5-rebound performance. Spain and Rubio will be in action again on August 1st as they take on Luka Doncic and Slovenia.