SALT LAKE CITY — If Ricky Rubio is at all concerned about his abysmal shooting percentage this year, he certainly isn’t showing it.
Asked Tuesday about his inconsistent numbers, two really good games, an average game, and a half dozen really poor games, he shrugged and said, “I’m trying to find my rhythm, but I’m not worried about that at all.”
Rubio, who has never been known as a great shooter — he’s a career 38 percent shooter from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range — has struggled with his shooting in most games this year.
For the season, Rubio is making only 32.7 percent of his field goals and just 30 percent from 3-point range. The former number would put him at second-to-last among the NBA’s 145 “qualified” shooters, just ahead of Houston’s Eric Gordon, if he'd had a few more shots this year.
To be on the NBA stats qualified list, a player must make 3.6 shots per game, and Rubio has made 3.2. Among all 400 NBA players, Rubio ranks No. 368.
Digging deeper, if you throw out Rubio’s 8-for-14 game against New Orleans, the 9-for-17 night against Memphis last week and the 5-for-12 game against Golden State, Rubio is an atrocious 10 for 55 in the other seven games, just 18.2 percent.
Some might remember that Rubio got off to a bit of a slow start last year, but he was actually 41 percent from the field after his first 10 games a year ago.
After briefly addressing his shooting, Rubio turned the conversation to defense and said that’s where his biggest concern was as the 4-6 Jazz go into Wednesday night’s home game against Dallas on a four-game losing streak.
“The thing I would focus on is defense,” he said. “Our offense will come. We’re scoring, 110, 115 points a game. But our identity is defense.”
Rubio also hinted that some of his teammates might not be playing team ball yet this season.
“Of course everybody worked in the summer and they want to get better and show what they worked on,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s a team sport. If you want to show your own skills one on one, this is not the team to be on. Over here it's five guys that talk and feel like a unit, and so far we showed some spurts, but not what we want to be.”
Defense is what coach Quin Snyder always comes back to, and he pointed out how offense and defense are intertwined, that poor offense can lead to poor defense.
“The two sides of the ball have such a big correlation with each other,” Snyder said. “We put more pressure, more stress and strain on our halfcourt defense if we make mistakes on offense, whether it be an ill-advised shot or a turnover in particular.”
For the most part, Snyder gives most of his players the green light to shoot when open, but some players, particularly from 3-point range, might have been firing too early.
“Shot selection is a tricky thing,” Snyder said. “You want guys to be aggressive and shoot the ball with confidence. You also need to feel the game and understand the possession the game before and what the other team is doing.”1 comment on this story
JAZZ NOTES: After missing Monday night’s game with an ankle injury from Saturday night’s game, Donovan Mitchell is listed as “probable” for Wednesday night. Everyone else is good to go except Raul Neto, who is still out with a hamstring injury. … Former Jazz star Darrell Griffith will make an appearance at Wednesday's game as the Jazz commemorate 40 seasons in Utah, with the team wearing Classic Edition uniforms. … The Jazz defeated the Mavericks 10 days ago in Dallas 113-104 with Rudy Gobert getting 23 points and 16 rebounds as the Jazz shot 52.5 percent from the field. … The Mavs stood 2-7, the second-worst record in the NBA, going into Tuesday night’s home game against Washington. … The Jazz and Mavs will play again next Wednesday in Dallas and will play each other just one more time, Feb. 23, at Vivint Arena.