Shooting woes not worrying Timberwolves '09 draft pick

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BARCELONA, Spain --- The numbers don't lie -- Ricky Rubio is struggling with his shot.

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota's 2009 first-round draft pick, is currently playing for Barcelona. The Timberwolves president is optimistic that the Spaniard will join his team next season.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota's 2009 first-round draft pick, is currently playing for Barcelona. The Timberwolves president is optimistic that the Spaniard will join his team next season.

The Spaniard is shooting only 20 percent from beyond the 3-point line in the Euroleague this season, a stat that has concerned fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that used a first-round draft pick in 2009 to claim him.

As for Rubio, 20, he's not sweating it.

"Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't," Rubio told The AP after a recent 80-56 win over Roma Lottomatica. "I'm not worried. You have to keep shooting and believing in yourself."

Rubio is averaging about six points per game, but he is doing what he does best -- creating offense.

Still, theories abound why Rubio's shot has dropped off.

Some argue it is from lack of confidence after a disappointing world championships, where defending champion Spain finished sixth. Others say he simply needs to work on his technique. And then there's the fact the 3-point line has been moved out to 6.75 meters (22 feet) this season.

Rubio fits the mold of Jason Kidd, a floor general who is at his best in the open court. Against Roma, Rubio showed just how to dominate a game without taking a single shot.

A move to the NBA could be just what Rubio needs to realize his potential. Scouts say that, despite a common stereotype in the U.S. that European players are "soft," the Euroleague is actually much more rugged than the American pro game.

"Here, in Europe, we do everything as a team," said Pete Mickeal, a former Cincinnati standout and Rubio's teammate at Barcelona. "There (in the NBA) he is going have a lot of individual one-on-one workouts and he is going to be great at that."

The Timberwolves organization doesn't appear to be concerned about Rubio's shooting struggles. President David Kahn has said many times that the he needs time to develop his game and that his stay in Europe would help prepare him for the NBA.

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