Cavs: Best and worst-case scenarios for Ricky Rubio in 2021-22

Ricky Rubio, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Ricky Rubio, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers opened up their 2021 NBA Draft night by making a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves that landed them veteran point guard Ricky Rubio a few hours the draft kicked off. The trade sent Taurean Prince and a 2022 second-round pick via the Washington Wizards, to go with cash considerations to the Timberwolves for Rubio.

The Cavaliers already have a solid guard rotation with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, so it is clear that Rubio will be coming off of the bench this season. This is something that has not happened too much throughout his 10-year career in the NBA.

Rubio does not seem like the type of player to cause issues in the locker room over a lack of playing time, which is a great thing to not have to worry about. There are two ways that Rubio’s time in Cleveland may go. At least theoretically, one would involve a best-case scenario, while the other, well, not so much.

Cavs: The best-case scenario for Rubio in 2021-22

The Cavaliers will be looking for some on-court production from Rubio, but, he is there as a mentor first, and it’s apparent that Garland is excited to learn from Rubio.

As previously mentioned, Rubio will almost certainly be coming off of the bench this season. This will be a reduced role compared to almost the entirety of his career. Even so, it will be a role that Rubio embraces.

His main goal this season should be to try to mold Darius Garland into the best version of himself that he can. Areas that Garland and Sexton struggle in are the areas in which Rubio thrives.

If he is able to teach them what he knows and his lessons have a lasting impact on Sexton and Garland, he will be well worth the $17.8 million the Cavs are paying him this year.

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On top of what he should provide as a mentor, Rubio will be a wonderful addition to the Cavaliers offense. In recent history, the Cavs have been a team that struggles with moving the ball.

This led to the team being ranked 21st in assists per game last season. Rubio has a career average of 7.6 assists per game. If he is able to come even close to that average, along with helping the passing games of Sexton and Garland, the Cavs have the potential to work their way up to at least in the top half of the NBA in assists this season.

Cavs: The worst-case scenario for Rubio in 2021-22

This worst-case scenario is far less likely to occur than the best-case scenario.

The worst thing that could happen with Rubio on this team is that he goes the Kevin Love route, or what seemed to be how things had been in regards to him within the team dynamic in recent seasons at times. Love was not exactly an exemplary teammate all the time in that time, although it is a plus that in recent media availability, Love did seem bought-in and for the team from here, is looking to be a “positive force.”

In any case, Rubio was clearly brought in to be a mentor and the front office is hoping that he is able to help develop the younger players.

From everything we have seen from Rubio throughout his career, he seems like the type of player that would be understanding of a teams’ vision and play his role in completing that vision.

Now, if he refuses to play or shows little to no effort when he does play, then the Cavs will have to quickly try to find a way to move him from the roster. Granted, even if he refuses to play but does not cause any issues in the locker room, the Cavs could let him sit out the season and simply allow him to walk in free agency this following offseason.

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But, I do not think that Cavs fans should be worrying about Rubio going that route in any capacity.