SALT LAKE CITY — Let me make this clear before I even begin to type this story that in no way, shape or form am I looking to say that Ricky Rubio is on Jason Kidd’s level.
In terms of accomplishments on the hardwood, it’s not even close.
And that’s not being disrespectful to Rubio — as he’s coming off the best season of his career in Utah — but Kidd was really that great.
The 45-year-old NBA champion and 10-time All-Star just entered the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 7, alongside Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Grant Hill, among others, and is one of the greatest floor generals in league history.
However, there are some similarities in their approach to the game. Even Kidd can’t overlook that.
“Rubio can pass the ball,” Kidd said during a November trip to Salt Lake City, as former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“He knows how to make the guys better,” Kidd added. “He plays the game the right way. I don’t know if there’s a comparison, that’s for you guys to make that but I think, again, he’s a guy that can find the open guy and make the game easy for his teammates.”
In terms of their physical stature, both guys are 6-foot-4 pass-first point guards who would much rather find the open man than force shots themselves. Rubio tips the scale at 190 pounds while Kidd was a tidbit heavier around 210 pounds for most of his career.
Both are also triple-double threats, who I wouldn’t rely upon to take the last shot of the game with their jump shooting, even despite Kidd ranking in the top-10 all-time list of 3-point field goals made.
Through seven seasons, Rubio averages 10.8 points, 7.9 assists and 4.3 boards but has only reached the postseason once and that happened as a Jazzman this past season. However, he could continue to benefit tremendously from Utah coach Quin Snyder’s system. As a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Rubio never won more than 40 games in a season until the Jazz went 48-34 to finish fifth in the Western Conference.
At that same stage, J-Kidd reached the playoffs five times as a member of the Phoenix Suns, but his career averages are 12.6 points, 8.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds in 19 seasons with Dallas, Phoenix, New Jersey and New York.
Kidd was named to the All-NBA First Team five times, earned Co-Rookie of the Year honors in 1995 with Grant Hill, led the league in assists five teams and made the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times throughout his illustrious career.
Rubio’s most notable NBA honor was making the All-Rookie First Team in 2012 but he has played professionally in Spain since the age of 14. That has to mean something, right?
Like Kidd, Rubio has developed a league-wide reputation as one of the top perimeter defensive and rebounding floor generals of his era. His passing ability is also stellar. That’s why Sports Illustrated recently included Rubio in its Top 100 NBA Players listat No. 57; ahead of Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague.
In case you were wondering, Joe Ingles is No. 56, Derrick Favors is No. 51, Donovan Mitchell is listed at No. 34 while Gobert ranked No. 14.
While folks outside of the Utah market may look at the headline of this piece and laugh hysterically, there certainly are some comparisons between Rubio and Kidd’s style of play. On a small, small scale to say the least.
Obviously, Kidd is way better but Rubio is no slouch either.
And that’s my random spiel for the day. Adios.