Rudy Gobert swap promises to be disastrous for Wolves


Facing a battered Heat team with a rookie center, the Timberwolves put their $170 million center in a surprising position. The bench.

Minnesota sat Rudy Gobert for the majority of critical time in a 113-110 loss to the Miami Heat, which was playing without All-Stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. They retired Gobert with 5:22 remaining after being outplayed by rookie Orlando Robinson, who was playing in his seventh NBA game.

Jon Krawczinski writes in The Athletic that “the Timberwolves have to ask themselves if the Gobert they got in trade with the Jazz is a shadow of the player who was such a force in Utah for so many years, or just the one who needs a little more time to find his way.”

Gobert’s numbers are down across the board in Minnesota. Last year, he led the league with 14.7 rebounds per game. This year it’s 12.1. His league-leading field goal percentage went from 71.3% to 66.4%. His shot blocking has dropped significantly from 2.1 per game to 1.2. Advanced stats like the plus/minus defensive box score see Gobert as slightly negative on defense this season, a far cry from what you’d expect of a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and player who the Timberwolves look up to. traded five players and five first-round picks.

Minnesota will send draft picks to Utah through 2029 for the right to pay Gobert $170 million for the next four seasons, and their defense, shot blocking and rebounding are worse this year.

Playing two seven-footers like Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns may be unachievable in 2022. Minnesota has the seventh-worst field goal percentage in the NBA, but that’s offset by giving up the tallest the league’s three-point count. – a sign that their big ones cannot get out of the bow.

Gobert hasn’t shown the offensive skills to take advantage of the little big men for that purpose. He is an afterthought, receiving the 8th most assists on the team while playing the fourth most minutes. When teammates Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell give him the ball, Gobert struggles to manage it cleanly.

Things may be different when Towns returns from injury. But Gobert is already 30, and this is the second year his defensive numbers have deteriorated. It’s a bad trade for Minnesota if Gobert is just a good defensive center and not a great one. If it is average? It’s a catastrophe.

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