Timberwolves hire former Lakers player as shooting coach for Ricky Rubio

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Now that Kevin Love has been traded to the Cavaliers, Ricky Rubio effectively takes over as the face of the Timberwolves franchise.

Not that he’s necessarily ready for that responsibility, or even deserving of it from a pure statistical perspective. But as the team’s starting point guard, he runs the show to a certain extent, and now in his fourth season, he should be capable of leading the team on the offensive end of the floor.

Rubio has consistently shown exceptional ball-handling ability and court vision. But his shooting has been a glaring weakness, and one that the organization has made a recent commitment to changing.

From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:

The Timberwolves today made it official, with training camp now just five days away: They have hired L.A.-based Mike Penberthy as a shooting coach to work with a team, particularly Ricky Rubio, who has struggled in that area in recent years. …

“I don’t even want to pigeon-hole him as a shooting coach because i think there are other things he’ll be able to help us with,” Wolves coach/president Flip Saunders said. “That will be his main emphasis. Ricky enjoyed working with him, even though it was only for a week. I think if Ricky had a chance to spend a month with him or six weeks, I believe we could have seen some good changes.

Penberthy appeared in 56 games for the Lakers in the 2001 and ’02 seasons, and finished with career averages of 41.5 percent shooting, and 39.6 percent from three-point distance. His time in the league was short, but he was a far better shooter than Rubio from a percentage standpoint, and if he can help with the young point guard’s mechanics, he’ll prove his worth as a valuable addition to the Minnesota coaching staff.