DENVER — When the Timberwolves brought Ricky Rubio back to Minnesota with a draft-night trade, they were quick to dismiss the notion that Rubio and D'Angelo Russell would clash styles in the backcourt.
Russell has been getting along fine of late — but that's with or without Rubio, who hasn't clicked in the Wolves' system yet.
Rubio had his worst night so far in a Wolves uniform with zero points on three shot attempts to go with two assists in 21 minutes as the Wolves lost 123-116. This comes after Rubio played only 18 minutes and scored six points against Denver on Sunday.
Rubio did not speak postgame but Saunder addressed what he has to do to help Rubio get going.
"I think it's just finding a rhythm," Saunders said. "I got to help get him in the spots where he can make decisions, make other players better in transition. If we get stops he can play faster and he forces us to play faster there."
Rubio was on the floor as the Wolves tried to close the gap late, but he and his teammates were helpless to initiate any kind of offense as they went over five minutes without scoring. Rubio has come off the bench, as he has the last few games, and he has started. His playing time with Russell has varied.
Through seven games Russell and Rubio have a net rating of -20.8 when they share the floor together. What's concerning is the offensive rating, which is just 103.8 points per 100 possessions. For context, that's just a cut above the Knicks, who had the second worst offensive rating entering Tuesday.
It's easier to say they can bide time to find chemistry if the Wolves were winning, but with the losses piling up, the pressure mounts for Saunders to find that key to unlock Rubio.
Juancho catches fire
Juancho Hernangomez said Monday he felt like his shot was improving after a slow start to the season. He wasn't kidding. Hernangomez had 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting, including five threes. Hernangomez did most of his damage in the first half, when he had 21. Hernangomez had just 19 total points on the season entering Tuesday.
"Every day I feel a little bit better, getting in shape," Hernangomez said. "It was just a matter of time, and that's it, being more aggressive.
"I know me, I know my body. There are going to be days that you don't make (shots) and there are going to be days that you make five or six threes. I try to be the same. I don't think I'm a better shooter today than the day before when I make five or I don't make any."