The Minnesota Timberwolves (17-22) have not played all that well this season. You could make the argument that they have been even worse when Ricky Rubio is on the floor. The second-year point guard has battled injuries that have limited him to just 14 appearances this season. Of those 14 games, the Timberwolves have won just four.
Minnesota picked up its seventh loss in its past eight games against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. Head coach Terry Porter decided to bench Rubio in favor of JJ Barea for the entire fourth quarter, and Ricky was not shy about expressing his displeasure after the game.
“I want to know what happened,” Rubio said according to The Pioneer Press. “We’re going to talk. ‘TP’ preferred to play the other players who were playing. I don’t know what to say. I don’t like it.”
To make matters more frustrating, Rubio reported to the scorer’s table twice in the final quarter but was called back both times. The first time, it appeared that Rubio would replace Barea after Barea committed his fifth foul of the quarter. Luke Ridnour replaced Mickael Gelabale instead, and Barea stayed in the game. Later in the quarter, Barea fell hard to the floor and appeared to suffer an injury. Porter was about to put Rubio in, but Barea waved him off before hitting a timely three-pointer.
“J.J. hit a shot,” Porter explained. “He hit a three. I was taking him out because I thought he was hurt but he said he was fine and made a shot. At that point, I just rolled with him. He was hot and made a shot. That was the only difference.”
That may have been the only difference on Wednesday, but there’s no denying Rubio has struggled all throughout his sophomore season. He is averaging just 4.2 points and 5.0 assists per game, as opposed to 10.6 points and 8.2 assists last year. He’s a crucial part of the team’s future, but Rubio simply isn’t performing. The way he has played is enough to earn most players a spot on the bench in certain situations.
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