The Suns need something, anything, to get back on track offensively, and the return of Ricky Rubio would surely give the team a jolt.
The promised land could be in sight for Phoenix, as Rubio told Gina Mizell of The Athletic today that he plans to be in the lineup on Wednesday night at home as the Suns take on the Wizards. After a day of practice, it looks like Rubio’s back spasms are in check enough that he can play.
Ricky Rubio (back spasms) practiced today for the #Suns and, as of now, plans to play tomorrow vs. Washington. Needs to see how his back feels when he wakes up tomorrow and throughout the day.— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) November 26, 2019
Rubio missed four of the past five games and only played the first half last Tuesday against Sacramento. The Suns effectively were without Rubio for the worst week from a scheduling standpoint of their entire season, and walked away with four losses as a result.
The Suns scored 104 or fewer points in three of the four games and needed unlikely explosions from Cheick Diallo and Elie Okobo to stay in games. Though Okobo has been a bright spot, the degree to which the Suns missed Rubio was obvious.
There’s the good news first. The bad news is Aron Baynes did not practice much on Tuesday and is expected to need more time to recover. Notably, Baynes’ injury was changed from a “right hip contusion” to start last week to a “right hip flexor strain.”
Baynes sustained a hit in a collision with Boston wing Jaylen Brown that seemed to do some damage. The physicality with which Baynes played coupled with his long summer playing in the FIBA World Cup with the Boomers were bound to lead to some soreness, but the Suns have missed him as well.
Frank Kaminsky told me as much last week:
“Me and Aron, I know he’s been shooting a lot of threes this year but at the end of the day we have very different offensive styles, so it’s just about adjusting, figuring each other out, and going from there.”
Those adjustments have been tough on the Suns. Down Deandre Ayton already, losing Baynes made them thin in the frontcourt and took away the rim protection their scheme relies on.
Fortunately, the formula for beating the Wizards is simple: Outscore them. That’s easier said than done, but hopefully the boost Rubio provides to the offense assuming he plays is enough to beat Washington.
A little Thanksgiving turkey later, and perhaps Baynes will be ready to play Friday against Dallas.