Who’s been the Cavs’ biggest surprise so far this season?

Ricky Rubio and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Ricky Rubio and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have remained in the hunt for the playoffs so far this season. This is quite impressive considering how young the team is paired with Collin Sexton being sidelined for the season after meniscus surgery.

This season, quite a few players have stepped up and have really surprised the entire league. Despite this, there has been one player so far this year that has been a bigger surprise than the rest for the Wine and Gold.

That Cavs player is Ricky Rubio.

Ricky Rubio was added to the Cavaliers in what at the time didn’t appear to be the most meaningful trade, aside from Rubio’s expiring contract. However, Rubio has made an enormous impact on the team already this season and he may be a player that the Cavaliers should look at keeping on the team for more than just this season.

Rubio has a style of play that is timeless. He is not known as much of a scorer, but, this year at the age of 31, he is averaging a career-high in points. While Rubio has made a name for himself as a facilitator, he has been an incredible scorer for the Cavs off the bench. He is averaging 14.2 points per game (sixth on the team) while shooting most notably 36.1 percent from three.

While the field goal percentage may seem very low overall at 36.3 percent, and it is well below the league average, around half of Rubio’s field goals attempted come from the three-point line. While it is very fair to say that Rubio is an atrocious scorer around the hoop, his three-point game has really helped the Cavs so far this season and at least in transition, he aids Cleveland.

Along with his scoring on the offensive end, he has also been a great facilitator and steadying presence for the team. This season, the Cavs rank fifth in assist rate at 62.6 percent, whereas last season, they were 12th at 61.8 percent.

While this may not seem like a major jump, where they sit in the league rankings truly shows the impact that Rubio’s passing has had on this team, and watching games, it’s evident that his unselfishness has helped the group’s mindset. Along with this, since his addition, Darius Garland has quickly progressed into a very talented passer as well.

On the defensive end, Rubio is having one of his best seasons in recent years. Now, he’s shifted to mostly a bench role, but regardless, he’s had a superb defensive rating of 100.9 so far, and has had a respectable 1.2 steals per outing.

There are still some areas in which Rubio leaves more to be desired like working on improving around the hoop and bringing his turnover numbers down.

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That said, his impact and leadership on this team paired with his level of play has been a perfect surprise for Cavs fans so far this season.