The Cleveland Cavaliers may have a strong 16-9 record, but they still have plenty of work to do in order to get to the next level.
One thing they need is increased production from their bench, and the long-awaited return of Ricky Rubio would help in that regard.
On Thursday, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Rubio is getting close to being able to suit up for game action again.
“He’s back,” Bickerstaff said this week. “He’s going to start doing more and more. More 5 on 5 and those types of things. He’s been given the green light to do that. Now it’s the progression that he has to go through to get ready to play in an NBA game. It’s something we won’t rush. But he’s heading in the right direction.”
JB Bickerstaff says that #Cavs Ricky Rubio has been given the green light to do more five-on-five after his latest meeting with the medical team.
— Danny Cunningham (@RealDCunningham) December 8, 2022
Rubio Could Help Spark The Cavs Bench
Cleveland originally traded for Rubio in the summer of 2021 when they sent Taurean Prince to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Spanish native shot poorly for the Cavs last season, but he did average 13.1 points and 6.6 assists per game while giving their bench some much-needed leadership and veteran experience.
Unfortunately, he injured his ACL in late December and was forced to miss the rest of the season, and soon afterward, Cleveland traded him to the Indiana Pacers in the Caris LeVert deal.
But Rubio came back to town this past summer as a free agent, giving the young Cavs a rare veteran presence again who can help stabilize them when their second unit is on the floor.
They rank just 26th in the NBA in bench points per game, and even though Rubio is an inefficient shooter, he can not only score but also get others involved and set the table.