Should the Boston Celtics target point guard Ricky Rubio in free agency this offseason?

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The Boston Celtics have been dealing with issues of consistency for more than a season now, and one of the theories regarding what needs to change to get some more consistent play on the floor is related to the makeup of the roster — namely the absence of a true, pass-first high-level point guard.

While most will agree Marcus Smart has been solid in that regard, some believe the Celtics would benefit from an upgrade at that position. One such analyst making that claim is Forbes SportsMoney’s Morten Jensen, who has a specific target in mind for Boston’s front office to pursue this offseason: injured veteran Cleveland Cavaliers floor general Ricky Rubio.

Rubio, who tore his ACL and ended his season recently, might seem like an odd choice of a target for the Celtics, but Jensen has his logic.

“In the case of Boston …,” he writes, ‘there might be a need to go back ever so slightly to the old format of acquiring themselves a proper no-nonsense point guard, who runs the offense, dictates where players need to go, and constantly has the attention of his teammates and coaches.

“Fortunately for the Celtics, such a player is available in free agency this summer. Unfortunately, he might not play for a while.”

“Ricky Rubio of the Cleveland Cavaliers is exactly the type of player who can instill in Boston a culture of upbeat positivity, unselfishness, ball-movement, and a winning attitude,” suggests Jensen.

“Rubio, who recently suffered a torn ACL in his left knee for the second time in his career, played an instrumental part in Cleveland’s impressive return to relevance this season. While Rubio came off the bench, his influence was obvious as soon as he entered the game. The ball would move, he’d call out plays and direct his teammates on where to go, when to come up to set a screen, and then explain to them how to improve afterwards if the play failed.”

“Rubio, at his core, is a natural teacher,” suggests the Forbes analyst.

“He’s not an All-Star player, nor is he even a particularly good scorer either,” continues Jensen, not exactly making his case here. “In fact, Rubio is historically outright miserable when it comes to efficiency, frequently sporting shooting percentages in the mid-30’s.”

So why would Boston want to pursue him, then?

Because, “despite his lack of skill in that area, he has everything else.”

“He’s an elite floor general and a solid defender. He helps out on the glass and gets the ball moving in transition. He’s more than satisfied with getting his teammates involved, as 30-point games have little meaning to him.”

This is the kicker, and exactly the sort of plater Boston needs on its roster. The question then would be how long Rubio might be out, and what the Celtics would need to do to get him to sign with Boston.

Jensen doesn’t address the latter, but ACL tears tend to take about eight or nine months with a chance at an earlier return if things go well, but it seems probable Rubio would be back in time to play at the start of next season.

More importantly, Rubio will be a free agent this summer, and while earning $17 million on his current deal, his future paychecks might conceivably dip into the realm of a mini-mid level exception (projected to be about $6.2 million next season) given he is 31 and this is his second ACL tear.

While we expect Rubio to have plenty of interest around the league and a solid shot at earning at least the full mid-level exception (if not more), and do not expect the Celtics to be in a position to offer him one, we agree the Spaniard is exactly the sort of player Boston ought to be targeting.

We’d prefer they look to begin experimenting in that regard at the trade deadline (and to set their sights higher if possible), but even if Rubio signing with the Celtics this summer is a longshot, the logic behind Jensen’s perspective is good.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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