The point guard position has been a thorn in the Suns’ side for two years, and really since two-time MVP Steve Nash left. After Eric Bledsoe’s salon Twitter drama, Phoenix toiled through the dumpster pile at arguably the league’s most important position. From Mike James to Jamal Crawford, the point guard experience has certainly been a rollercoaster.
Well, stability has finally been found with Ricky Rubio.
Multiple times within the first few minutes Rubio caught his new teammates off guard with beautiful passes zipped unexpectedly to the perfect location. Deandre Ayton even had his first true “woah” moment with Rubio early on. Rubio bounced a pass right through the crevasse where the small opening was, which certainly caught the Suns’ former No. 1 overall pick by surprise.
Ayton dealt with a turnstile at the position throughout his rookie campaign. Inconsistency on getting the 7-footer in rhythm led to sleepy nights from the Arizona big man. With Rubio in town, Ayton is well on his way to averaging along the lines of 20 points and 12 rebounds on elite efficiency.
Going from De’Anthony Melton and Crawford to Rubio and Ty Jerome is like going from old tube TV to HD television for the first time. It shocks you with how obvious the upgrade was right away.
Rubio-Ayton PnRs are going to be fun. pic.twitter.com/12TNkm8h92— Evan Sidery (@esidery) October 9, 2019
That’s exactly how I felt at Talking Stick Resort Arena Tuesday night as Rubio and Jerome controlled the pace of the game way better than anyone else did over the past two years.
Rubio let it be known his primary objective in the purple and orange is to make it easy easier for the Suns’ stars to produce. Following dazzling alley-oops and passes to Ayton and Booker, which included 5 assists in only 20 minutes, that’s the role the Spaniard relishes.
“He’s willing to learn,” Rubio said postgame about Ayton. “He’s willing to get better every day. That helps my job. It makes my job easier, and I’m just trying to get him easy baskets. Make his life a little easier.”
Ricky Rubio on developing synergy with Deandre Ayton:— Evan Sidery (@esidery) October 9, 2019
“He’s willing to learn. He’s willing to get better everyday. That helps my job. It makes my job easier, and I’m just trying to get him easy baskets. Make his life a little easier.” pic.twitter.com/QNGqQf23yz
Ironically enough against the team he was drafted by, Rubio showed off his vintage style. This type of play from the point guards has been laying dormant for years in the Valley.
Even when Bledsoe was still around during Booker’s early years, he didn’t qualify as a true floor general. Rubio checks that box now with emphasis as his job is to make it all run easier for Booker and Ayton, as he said during Tuesday’s postgame media session.
From what we can analyze from one game so far, the point guards no longer will be an Achilles heel for Phoenix. Arguably, they will be a strength platooning Jerome, Tyler Johnson, and possibly Jevon Carter alongside Rubio. The nine-year veteran’s primary objective to feed Ayton and Booker, allowing them to get easier shots in rhythm, will pay huge dividends immediately.
And that doesn’t even account for Devin Booker’s playmaking next to Rubio. Booker had his own five assists in 20 minutes of play, and the tandem appears to be sharing the load on ball handling more than might have been expected.
Yet it’s Rubio who really runs the offense. Back in 2011-12, Steve Nash was the last Suns player to average at least 7.5 assists per game. Rubio will end this eight year drought soon enough, and it might be happening right now.
All of the ingredients are set up for Rubio to stew together a well balanced offensive attack.