When Knicks point guard Jason Kidd looks at Ricky Rubio, he sees a younger version of himself.
"He plays both ends," Kidd said Friday morning. "He's very good at finding the open guy. And defensively he can get in the passing lanes and get steals."
In an era of shoot-first point guards, Kidd and Rubio are both pass-first players who look for an open teammate before they look for a shot. But Rubio, who went head to head with Kidd in Friday's Wolves-Knicks game at Target Center, would like to see even more similarities between the two as his career progresses.
"He's been one of the top point guards in the league, and he's been improving his shot a lot," Rubio said. "And it's something that I have to look at, because when he came to the league he couldn't shoot as well as he's doing now."
To Rubio, Kidd is proof that a better shot can be developed after an NBA career starts. Kidd, 39, came into the league in 1994 with Dallas as a guard with great vision and passing skills but without a great shot. But, with work, he turned himself into a competent shooter, especially from three-point range; Kidd ranks third all-time in the NBA in three-pointers made.
Friday, while talking about his happiness at being a late addition to the Rising Stars Game over the All-Star break, Rubio stated his intention to mimic what Kidd has done as a shooter. "You can work on that," Rubio said. "And you can become a shooter."
Kidd is confident that will happen. "You rely on your strengths when you come in the league," he said. "It's just a matter of time. He'll work on shooting the ball and at that point he'll have the total package.''
Rubio's addition to All-Star Weekend coincides with an uptick in his game. He totaled 25 assists and 24 points in the two games before Friday. His shot is still an issue, though Rubio said he feels it's getting better as his legs get stronger. And, he said, going to Houston over the break won't interfere with that, as he'll return the day after the Friday game to get some rest.
Rubio is confident his shot will get better. Meanwhile, he'll still have the play-making ability that got him in the league in the first place.