Ricky Rubio only averages eight points for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it hasn't had a negative impact on his 7-4 team entering tonight's game vs. the Wizards (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
In fact, Wizards coach Randy Wittman appreciates what he does. The comparisons to John Wall are inevitable.
"He controls their pace of game. No question. He's a lot like we talk about John, he's got the ball in his hands, a lot of decision-making going on," Wittman said. "He dictates pace a lot like we want John."
Rubio only shoots 32.6 percent from the field but averaged 9.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He has taken just 18 three-point shots, making seven of them for 38.8 percent.
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Wall, who was dubbed "Great Wall" in high school and even has a tattoo to reflect that, has better overall stats: 16 points, 9.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds. He's shooting 36.5 percent from the field, but has a bit liberal when it comes to launching the long ball. Wall has attempted 38 threes, making just 12 for 31.5 percent.
Rubio, however, will get more credit for what he does because of his team's overall success.
"You're going to go through tough shooting stretches. That can't affect your energy level. John can affect the game more than making and missing jump shots and he's got to remember that," Wittman said of Wall, who signed a five-year, $80 million extension in August. "That's the main thing with John. ... I don't want him to think he's got to play a great game for us to win. He doesn't. But we need him to play good. Then your great games come when you're consistently playing good.
"Sometimes I think he might think, 'I got to play great every night.' I don't know if pressure is the right word but he puts that onus on himself when it doesn't happen early it gets a little frustrating. All of our main guys have to do that. If we play good we're going to win. We don't need great performances from everybody to win games."
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Wall, who has battled back spams since the third game, still has recurrences throughout the day, during sleep and can be seen stretching out on the floor during games with a heating pad. But he said that's not the reason why he's not playing well of late.
"I'm always looking to pass to my teammates, get those guys involved, but at certain times I have (easier) shots I'm giving up and making my teammates take tougher shots," Wall said. "I got to get back to attacking the basket and just be more confident in my overall game. I think I was being too passive at times."