Utah Jazz: Ricky Rubio listed as questionable for Friday’s contest against the Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz continue to struggle with injury woes as it was announced today that Ricky Rubio is questionable for Friday’s contest with Achilles soreness.

I feel like I’ve started out a lot of my recent pieces by reminiscing. Perhaps that’s because this season is causing me to have a significant amount of deja vu. And no, not the “heading to the playoffs, winning a thrilling seven-game series” kind of deja vu, more like the “here we go again with the injuries” kind.

But anyhow, back to the reminiscing – remember during the offseason when we Utah Jazz fans were excited at the prospect of a revamped Jazz training staff resulting in significantly less injuries and heightened success as a result? Well, I hate to pin it entirely on the new crew, but so far such has been far from the case as the Jazz appear to have fallen victim to the injury bug yet again.

To recap, the Jazz already lost Dante Exum for most of, if not all of, the year during preseason. Then Rodney Hood had some woes that kept him off the court for a short period of time. Next, Joe Johnson hurt his wrist and what was initially believed to be about a two-week absence has at least doubled. Then, perhaps the worst news of all was that Rudy Gobert would be sidelined for four to six weeks with a bone bruise in his knee, thanks to a reckless Dion Waiters play.

That’s a lot of bad luck. And at some point you’d think it would finally subsist, right? But apparently that’s not in the cards for the Jazz as it was announced today that Ricky Rubio is now listed as questionable for Friday’s road contest against the Brooklyn Nets.

Rubio played relatively well (the now expected poor shooting aside) in Wednesday’s loss to the New York Knicks, so it’s a bit surprising that this would surface seemingly out of the blue, but it’s quite possible that he tweaked it in that game or perhaps in Thursday’s practice.

Whatever the case, it seems like the Jazz may very well be without their starting point guard on Friday night. While this may seem like a bad thing (and it probably will be), I’m actually intrigued to see how the Jazz react and perform without him. He’s obviously done some good things for his team as the leading assist man (5.5 per game) and with a couple clutch performances, but overall he’s been less than stellar for the Jazz.

Rubio is turning the ball over more than anyone on the team at 3.6 per game. He’s also third worst on the team in terms of plus/minus at -3.3. Also, when Rubio is on the court the Jazz are putting up an offensive rating of 97.9 compared to 102.8 when he’s off. Defensively, where Rubio is supposed to thrive, Utah’s rating is 104.2 with him on and 98.2 with him off the court. Rubio’s absence from the court has produced the best defensive rating for the Jazz of any of his teammates. That’s…not good.

Beyond all that, perhaps the worst has been his shooting where he’s converting on just 37.3 percent of his field goal attempts and 25.7 percent of his threes. Believe it or not (and trust me, it’s hard to believe), he’s been even worse over the past five games as he’s converted on just 27.7 percent of his field goals and 5.6 percent of his threes. And no that’s not a typo, he’s literally made one of his last 18 attempts (and two of his last 27, if you were wondering).

Again, that’s not good. In fact that’s horrific.

So, while the Nets aren’t exactly the best measuring stick as the Jazz should (“should” being the key word, oh wow, I’m nervous now) be able to beat them with or without Rubio, especially considering that they’re without their leading scorer in D’Angelo Russell, I’m still interested to see how the Jazz fare.

If the offense has more rhythm, if the Jazz take smarter shots and if they turn it over less, I’m going to really start questioning Rubio’s impact on this team. Or perhaps I should say, I’ll start questioning it more than I already am.

It will be interesting to see how Quin Snyder reacts if Rubio does indeed sit Friday’s contest out in terms of adjusting the starting lineup. My guess would be that Donovan Mitchell takes over the starting point guard spot as he figures to log significant time at that position in the future anyway, and that Rodney Hood is reinserted as the starting shooting guard.

Regardless of whether that ends up being the case or not, Mitchell should certainly be the beneficiary of an expanded opportunity and that will be both fun to watch and intriguing to see how it impacts the Jazz. He’s been the most exciting part of this Jazz team so far by a long shot and he’s certainly been a better playmaker and more positive offensive impact than Rubio thus far.

If you needed any evidence, just check out the sequence below.

So time will tell whether Rubio indeed sits out or not with his Achilles soreness, but given that Friday’s game will be against a lackluster Brooklyn Nets team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jazz play it safe with him.

And quite frankly, if Utah then goes on to earn their first road win of the season, it may pose some difficult questions about Rubio’s future with the Jazz moving forward. He’s struggled immensely so far and if he’s unable to get going or continues to deal with injuries, Utah may very well look to make a significant change in their current rotation.

Next: Utah Jazz notes: Gobert fires back at Waiters, John Cleese is jazzed

The bad news is, they have little other places to turn. Mitchell’s already taken on a huge role in his rookie season and with Dante Exum out and Raul Neto serving as little more than a placeholder, the Jazz are nearly bone dry at the point guard position.

And especially as these injuries keep on coming, the Jazz could be in for a long and troublesome stretch ahead. Be sure to stay tuned to TheJNotes.com for more updates on Ricky Rubio and his wounded Jazz team once they arrive.