Many feel the Timberwolves overpaid for Gobert, as they gave up multiple future first-round draft picks, some of which will be unprotected, and clearly, the team is taking a big risk that Gobert will be its missing piece.
Four first round picks and five players going to Utah in return for Rudy Gobert for the Minnesota #Timberwolves
— Tony Battalio (@tonybattalio16) July 1, 2022
He is one of the game’s best rebounders and shot blockers, and although he isn’t a legitimate offensive option, when he does shoot the ball, he is insanely efficient with his 65.3 percent career field-goal accuracy.
Gobert was recently officially introduced as a member of the Timberwolves, and he made a comment that was ambitious, but probably unrealistic.
Rudy Gobert: "The goal is to win a championship and I came here for that. I didn’t come here just to be a good team. I came to try and take this team to the finals and accomplish that.“
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 6, 2022
You have to love the fact that Gobert is aiming high and being audacious, but if he really thinks the team Minnesota has can win the NBA championship, he’s living in fantasy land.
The Timberwolves Do Have A Promising Team
Regardless of what their true potential is in the next few years, the Timberwolves are in somewhat of an enviable position.
This past season, many expected them to miss the playoffs, but instead, they won the play-in tournament and put up a strong fight versus the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.
In Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota has one of the very best big men in the game who can score in the post, hit 3-pointers, rebound, and block shots.
Guard Anthony Edwards is a rising star and one of the most explosive and exciting players in basketball.
He averaged 21.3 points a game in the regular season, then upped that figure to 25.2 points per contest in the Grizzlies series, and he is considered to have high potential on the defensive end.
However, those two men, along with Gobert, likely won’t be enough to earn the Timberwolves the trip to the NBA Finals the French native is hoping for.
The team lacks offensive firepower outside of Edwards and Towns, as third-leading scorer D’Angelo Russell put up 18.1 points a game in 2022 but shot just 41.1 percent from the field.
Malik Beasley, a complementary player who was their only other player to average double figures in scoring, went to the Utah Jazz in the Gobert trade, as did guard Patrick Beverley, perhaps Minnesota’s best defender.
Without Beverley’s point of attack defense, toughness and animosity, the Timberwolves might be a little softer next season.
Gobert Will Help, But Not Enough
Gobert, who is nicknamed “The French Rejection” and “The Stifle Tower,” will certainly help the Timberwolves improve their mediocre defense and piss-poor defensive rebounding.
But without effective perimeter defenders such as Beverley, the team as a whole will be hard-pressed to be strong enough defensively to go far in the playoffs.
There are also questions as to how he and Towns will be able to complement each other, especially come playoff time, since Gobert cannot hit shots outside of the paint.
With several teams in the Western Conference expected to improve next season, the Timberwolves could easily flatline and do only about as well as they did in 2022.