In Honor of His Game-Winner on Friday, Let’s Compare Ricky Rubio to Jeff Teague

Andy Clayton-king - Andy Clayton-king / EFE

Andy Clayton-king – Andy Clayton-king / EFE

Outside of stepping over a downed opponent, daring someone to shoot is one of the most disrespectful actions that can occur on a basketball court. Watching an NBA or NCAA defender aggressively playing off of his guy, to where it’s almost awkward if a shot doesn’t go up, is must see television.

It’s a sport-lover’s version of the awkward moments created 87 different times in every episode of The Real Housewives of (Name your City). But, instead of violently screaming at the opponent about your upper-class problems, you’re silently screaming at them to shoot the damn ball. Out of all the guards in the NBA, Ricky Rubio sees about 5 more feet between him and his man, than other guard or wing players. Defenders are silently screaming at him ALL THE TIME. Like this… but silently.


On Friday night, at least on their most important defensive possession, the Toronto Raptors adopted this strategy. However, with the Jazz down by one, Rubio’s man bailed HARD to help on the ball. The Spaniard’s teammate hit him for a wide open three. In rare fashion, the former Wolf let it fly from deep.

Three ball, side pocket. Bang. After stopping Toronto on the other end and converting a couple of FTs, the Jazz won on what was ultimately the GW, by the 6.5 year NBA veteran.

This past summer, somewhat stomped on by the trade to acquire Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves parted ways with their incumbent ball handler, Rubio, and signed 29 year-old Jeff Teague. The changing of the guard, pun intended, was meant to be an immediate upgrade. Now that this year’s NBA campaign is more than halfway over, the question needs to be asked: Contracts and the draft pick MN acquired aside, for this season, was signing Jeff Teague and trading away Rubio an upgrade at the point guard position?

With Rubio three-point GW’s about as rare as a Nikola Pekovic sighting, it seems like the appropriate time to address that question.

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a per-minute rating developed by ESPN. PER “sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.” When doing a comparison such as this, that stat alone isn’t a tell all, but it’s the first place my eyes look.

As of Sunday, Jeff Teague (14.78) has a PER 2.64 points higher than Rubio (12.14). Like I said it isn’t a tell all, but it sure tells a hell of a lot. That is especially true in this side-by-side breakdown for the following reasons: Both players are starters, both play the same position, and they are in the same conference, meaning, both face a similar slate of competition.

If you’ve been concerned that the Timberwolves’ downgraded at PG, the above information should assist in putting the majority of your worries to bed. As for any that may remain awake, hopefully these numbers help knock those more resilient f*ckers out.

Jeff Teague 2017-18 Stats:

Ricky Rubio 2017-18 Stats:

Only 4.8 assists per game for Ricky Rubio! Jeff Teague is dusting him in his own bread and butter category.

To be fair, Utah’s outstanding rookie, Donavon Mitchell, has been spending a lot of time on the ball. However, at the same time, Jimmy Butler spends a good amount of time running the show for the Wolves. Despite averaging about 8.5 assists during his Minnesota tenure, Rubio didn’t once play alongside a ball-commanding, All-Star wing. Teague is at almost 7 dimes a game, while Jimmy Buckets is RIGHTFULLY having plenty of opportunities of his own to run the offense.

On top of PER and assists per game, the following five categories are also statistical victories for Teague :

  • Points (per game): Teague (13.3), Rubio (11.2)
  • FG%: Teague (43.2), Rubio (38.8)
  • 3P%: Teague (35.3), Rubio (29.9)
  • Offensive rating (per 100 poss.): Teague (107), Rubio (96)
  • Defensive rating (per 100 poss.): Teague (111), Rubio (106)

For sanity purposes, it feels good to know that the Wolves’ new PG is currently outperforming the Wolves’ old PG. It’s like our significant other is an upgrade from our ex. That’s the way it should be. Steps forward, not backward.

With that said, despite being glad to see Ricky leave Minnesota, I was happy to see him hit make that shot. Unlike Tyron Lue in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals, Rubio made the other team pay for the blatant lack of respect.


Johnny Minnesota @TheJohnnyMN
Minnesota Sports Fan

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