But this feel-good story has taken a negative turn.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 29, 2021
Rubio has been key to the Cavaliers’ surprisingly strong start. The savvy veteran has helped with his passing, perimeter defense and opportunistic shooting.
The Cavs essentially used Rubio in two roles – with starting point guard Darius Garland and behind Garland. Rubio will be sorely missed in both.
Cleveland dominated when Garland and Rubio shared the the backcourt (+16.1 points per 100 possessions).
The Cavaliers can start Isaac Okoro, who won’t recreate the chemistry Garland had with Rubio but won’t step on the toes of the other starters. However, that’d put significantly more playmaking responsibility on Garland. At least Garland looks increasingly capable in his third season.
The Cavs also kept their head above water when Rubio played without Garland (+1.3 points per 100 possessions). Those minutes will be difficult to replace. Cleveland’s guard depth has really taken a hit with Collin Sexton out with his own season-ending knee injury and now Rubio going down. The Cavaliers have played just 87 minutes without Garland, Rubio and Collin Sexton – getting outscored by 13.2 points per 100 possessions. Third point guard Kevin Pangos is in line for a promotion.
Rubio tore the same ACL in 2012. This is a rough way for the 31-year-old to enter unrestricted free agency this summer.
Especially because he looked so good before getting hurt.