Timberwolves bigs building chemistry: KAT got Gobert’s back

If you wanted to detect the first sign of whether or not the Minnesota Timberwolves’ strategy of playing two NBA All-Star bigs on the same roster, well you may have your answer already. They just may pull this one off.  While there is a long and winding road ahead of the team, the first sign of hit or miss with the new Timberwolves roster is the simplest yet most telling.

Do these players have one another’s backs?

Well, at each opportunity, Timberwolves center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns has stepped up and repeatedly answered the question over teammate center Rudy Gobert: I’ve got your back.

Now, Towns could take the path of every player for himself. After all, he’s not a point guard but is actually an NBA big with an entire arsenal of shot-taking moves that dwarfs that of his teammate. Gobert. The Minnesota Timberwolves added Gobert for his defense, or at least that was the plan shared publicly.

KAT welcome mat is out

But from the early going, Towns has noticed that as he drives to the basket, two to three defenders collapse on him and abandon their positions around defending Gobert. So he has begun to look for that easy assist, and it’s worked to perfection.

How dramatic of a difference has that willingness to share the wealth been for Towns so far? While his current scoring rate of 21.9 points per game is slightly under his career average of 23.1 PPG, his assists 5.2 per game are well ahead of his career 3.1 APG. That difference has been all Rudy Gobert.

Meanwhile, Gobert has been a bit under his career averages so far this season. That is to be expected because his teammates are all unfamiliar with his style of play, and they have yet to truly synch up with him in ways that will optimize his overall impact.

But as is the case in so many ways, Karl-Anthony Towns is leading the way to incorporating and including Rudy Gobert in the offense. And by checking that box within the first 15 games of the 2022-23 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have already cleared their first and perhaps their most important hurdle.