ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio directs traffic against the Indiana Pacers during their NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves defeated the Pacers 104-91.(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

ANDY CLAYTON-KING, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Rubio reveals a fab new floater

  • Article by: Jerry Zgoda
  • Star Tribune
  • March 24, 2014 - 1:04 AM

Yes, that was a floater from the lane with which you might have seen Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio score during Wednesday’s tumultuous overtime victory at Dallas.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman confirmed it.

So, too, did Rubio, admitting a shot he lofted over a Dallas defender was one seldom seen from him in his three-year NBA career.

“Yeah, it was,” he said, smiling. “It was.”

In a small way it helped him deliver his third career triple-double — 22 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds — and a 123-122 overtime victory that night.

Going forth, it needs to become a bigger part of his game, and he says he’s working on it.

Rubio has struggled to score around the basket all season, but he attacked aggressively from the night’s beginning. Included for one night only in his repertoire was that running floater smaller players — most notably San Antonio’s Tony Parker in today’s NBA game — use to counter approaching behemoth shot blockers.

“He definitely has to develop that shot,” Adelman said. “He has to learn how to get shots off when he gets into that area because when their big guys are there, he has to get over them. Parker developed that shot and it makes him so difficult to guard. We’ve worked on that with him, but it’s got to come in the games. It’s got to translate into the games.”

Rubio said he has studied Parker’s shot and continues to work on his own.

“It’s something I want to add to my game,” Rubio said. “But I want to work on a lot of things. It’s something that’s going to help me finish better when there are shot blockers. I want to work on every single aspect of my game, so sometimes it’s hard to do everything at once. I’m just adding piece by piece.”

That floater shot is just one way Rubio needs to continue to develop his game around the basket, Adelman said.

“The biggest thing is when he gets in the open, he’s got to be slowing down so he can make decisions,” Adelman said. “If a guy is waiting at the basket, shoot the floater. If the guy comes at him, attack him. The game has to slow down when you get in that painted area.”

When asked if he works on that floater shot regularly during the season or if it’s work better saved for the offseason, Rubio said, “It’s something you do in the summer, but you can be working on it in the season, too.”

Any time of year, Parker is one guy to emulate.

“Tony Parker has one of the best,” Rubio said. “There are a lot of players who use it, and I want to add it to my game.”

Barea hurting

Backup Wolves guard J.J. Barea, battling a sprained left foot that limited him in Thursday’s loss in Houston, is questionable for Sunday’s game with Phoenix. Barea had an MRI on the foot —which has been bothering him for a week —to confirm the sprain. He sat out Saturday’s practice. “It’s better,” he said. “Hopefully it will be better [Sunday].’’ Barea will be a game-time decision. If he cannot play, Alexei Shved would be the backup point guard.

© 2014 Star Tribune