Kings Free Agency Target Profile: Ricky Rubio
Welcome to KHTK’s Kings free agency profiles! Here we’ll be breaking down some of the top players the Kings should target in free agency, analyzing their career numbers, fit with the Kings and potential downsides. We’ll also assign a priority score to each player, signifying how strongly the Kings should consider pursuing a given free agent.
Ricky Rubio is entering the ninth season of his career after spending his first six years in Minnesota Timberwolves, and the last two with the Utah Jazz. The 28-year-old point guard has averaged 11.1 points and 7.7 assists per game over his career while shooting 38.8 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from three, and 85.5 percent from the free throw line.
Utah may have aimed to re-sign Rubio in free agency, but their trade for Mike Conley allowed them to let their starting point guard walk. While he doesn’t provide eye-popping numbers on the offensive end, his defense helps make up for his lack of scoring on the other end.
The biggest thing Rubio offers the Kings is his veteran presence in the back court. That’s something the Kings have lacked since drafting De’Aaron Fox in 2017. They did sign George Hill prior to the 2017-18 campaign, but he got traded midway through the season. Since then, the point guard corps has consisted of Fox, Frank Mason and Yogi Ferrell. Those three have seven years of NBA experience combined — two fewer than what Rubio.
Rubio is a high-IQ, pass-first point guard that plenty of teams would take as a starter. He’d be looking at a bench role in Sacramento. While he is more methodical player who wouldn’t be able to push the pace as the Kings do, Rubio could provide a nice change of pace when Fox is off the floor.
Rubio is also an above-average perimeter defender that the Kings could use off the bench. Last season, Rubio had a 103.4 defensive rating, good for 12th out of all qualifying point guards. Ferrell was the closest to that on the Kings with a 108.1 DRTG.
Rubio has been a career starter. Of his 498 career games, he has started in 477. If he does choose to sign with the Kings, he would be backing up Fox without a chance to earn the starting role.
There are also some concerns about his shooting, and putting him on the floor with or without Fox could constrict the space the Kings want to create with their speed and shooting.
The Kings need depth in their back court. Rubio would make for a very good back up point guard who could handle the ball on the second unit, and take some of the onus off De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic to make plays on the offensive end. There isn’t a starting role for him in Sacramento though with Fox and Buddy Hield chiseled in as the starters, and he might look for a contract with a team he could start for.
Priority score: 3/10