Thirteen days since spraining his right elbow in a loss at Sacramento Oct. 29, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio was back at practice.
Rubio practiced with the Wolves Friday. And, according to both coach Tom Thibodeau and Rubio’s teammates, he looked good. He was listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center.
“He had a good day today,” Thibodeau said of Rubio, who missed five games. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He moved great. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him since practice ended, but he practiced very well.’’
Rubio would bring his veteran presence to a team that started four players age 22 or younger in his absence.
That’s not to say the Wolves’ offense sputtered in Rubio’s absence. With rookie Kris Dun starting in his place and Tyus Jones coming off the bench, the Wolves offense continued to operate fairly well, moving the ball and creating space for the team’s three-point shooters. The team ended its three-game road trip with one victory, but with the best three-point shooting percentage in the league.
The 123 points the team scored while beating Orlando Wednesday was the most points the team had scored on the road in a non-overtime game since March of 2014.
“Organization,” Thibodeau said when asked what was missed most with Rubio out. “Just the way he can push the ball, his decision-making and team defense. He’s all over the place. He brings a lot of energy. In transition he’s such a good decision-maker, he gets you a lot of easy baskets. And he knows how to move the ball around. That’s probably what we missed most. I mean, I thought Kris had some good moments for us. And Tyus did as well.’’
Dunn averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 assists in the five games Rubio missed. But, after scoring 10 points in the first of those games, in a victory over Memphis, he scored just 12 points in the subsequent four games. Indeed, in the final two games of the three-game road trip, Dunn saw his minutes drop.
That slack was picked up by Jones, whose contributions rose. He played more than 30 minutes in each of the Wolves’ last two games, stuffing the stat sheet with 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals at Brooklyn. In Wednesday’s victory in Orlando he had 10 points with five assists, four rebounds and two steals.
“He was ready to play,” Thibodeau said of Jones. “I thought he did a good job of keeping us organized, pushing the ball up the floor. And that’s what his job is. He has to stay ready. He’s great for us in practice. He’s a terrific practice player. And he did a good job.’’