By: Sam Meyerkopf / @HoopLikeDrazen
One position, two different styles, and one enduring quality. Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry are two of the rising young point guards in the NBA and they battled it out Tuesday night in a Warriors win over the Timberwolves 105-89. In a game were Rubio looked off and at sometimes, awful, while Curry was truly magical, it’s tough to compare. But both possess very special and unique skill sets. Some might say Curry is the best shooter in the game, while Rubio gets votes for best passer. One shared ability is that these are two of the most creative dribblers in the NBA. Each has a lot of talent but still things to learn. Here are a few things each guy could take or learn from their counterparts game.
One giant thing these two great point guards share is creative dribbling. They are two of the best in the league and each could make an argument for the crown. Rubio will go through his legs, through your legs, and then back again. And he’s usually setting up for a nifty dish. Curry has a great behind the back and inside-out dribble that he uses to freeze you and then stroke.
And Smooth Steph
Curry Teaches Rubio
It’s so simple, yet so effective, and requires serious touch. I wouldn’t expect Rubio to get even close to the level Curry is at with his teardrop, floaters, in the lane hangers; but it’s still under the “must develop” category. The way Curry usually teardrops is through his normal shooting motion but he just pushes the ball a little farther with just his shooting hand in a quicker motion. He’s usually putting it up in a tight space where he can’t get off his jumper so quickness is paramount. Rubio it seems, over thinks his shots and shoots a real line drive shot. If he can get more float into his shot, the teardrop could happen.
Jumper Off The Pick and Roll
Everyone knows he’s passing it so they can sag on to the rolling big and stick to their shooters when Rubio runs the pick and roll. He needs that step in off the dribble jumper Curry has mastered off the pick and roll. Rubio at least needs to be confident shooting it so the threat of the shot is there and defenses have to plan accordingly. Rubio’s shot in general needs a lot of work but he seems to be better when he can just shoot. Teardrops and jumpers off the pick and roll are quick action shots.
Game Note: Rubio was 0-10 from the field and threw up some horrendous bricks. There needs to be endless shooting work this off-season in general.
Moving Off The Ball
Playing alongside a fellow point guard in Luke Ridnour often, Rubio has the luxury of having another player next to him who is adept at creating for others. What Rubio doesn’t take advantage of a whole lot is moving around, besides hanging out at the top of the key, when Ridnour is poking and prodding. For a guy who’s jumper is very inconsistent, using his basketball IQ to get into passing lanes where he would normally throw to guys, could help get a lot more easy scores. When Curry doesn’t have the ball he’s always look for a screen. Pay attention Ricky.
Rubio Teaches Curry
Running The Fastbreak
You can’t really speed up Curry. He plays a smooth, well timed, and a spacing heavy game that doesn’t rely on the fast break. And if he does run, it’s usually for a pull-up triple. Curry is such a creative dribbler and passer that he could take some lessons from Rubio on just flying up the court when he gets an outlet pass to see what might be open quickly. With Harrison Barnes running the lane and Klay Thompson spotting up, he has options to work with.
Working The Ball Inside More
A game plan is a game plan but most big men are large, hungry, and need to be fed. Curry and the Warriors rarely look to post up their bigs or work to get them quality looks. Rubio runs a lot more pick and roll and really looks to drive into the paint or feed his bigs. Curry could gain even more space for his jumper if he was able to get his bigs in more scoring positions close to the rim. Even on drives now he seems more comfortable kicking it out then hitting someone in the lane.
Willingness To Get Rid Of The Ball
Listen when you are as good of a shooter as Steph is, it’s tough to give up the rock. But quicker ball movement would allow more space to open up and get more people involved in the offense. Rubio, if he even thinks there is a slight opening will get the ball and whip right back around. Curry doesn’t always need to pound the rock and work so hard on offense, he can let the game come to him and save some energy.