There is no question about it: The Minnesota Timberwolves’ investment into Rudy Gobert was a major, franchise-altering one. When Tim Connelly and upper management ultimately decided that they wanted to make a move for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, they were forced to change the trajectory of the franchise.
For better or for worse, we have been seeing the effects of the Timberwolves’ acquisition of Rudy Gobert all throughout the current season. On one hand, Gobert’s rim protection and intimidating presence in the paint has completely changed the way opponents attack Minnesota offensively. Driving straight to the rim for an open layup is simply not an option with Rudy on the floor.
On the other hand, we are seeing the effect that losing four future first-round picks is having on the Timberwolves. With their ability to build through the draft diminished, the pressure to win now is higher than ever.
Did the Minnesota Timberwolves view Rudy Gobert as a one-year experiment?
The Timberwolves’ move to acquire Rudy Gobert has been heavily scrutinized and has looked like a better decision at some times than at others. As such, fans and pundits alike have wondered how he will pan out with the franchise long-term. Could this end up as a failed, short-term experiment? Or will Gobert be in Minnesota for years to come?
Some insight into where the Minnesota Timberwolves stand on that question was recently revealed. On NBA insider Brian Windhorst’s podcast, Windy talked about his conversation with head coach Chris Finch in the offseason. He said his understanding is that the Timberwolves did not invest in Gobert for one year, but they saw their trade for him as a multi-year play.
Minnesota was never planning to pull the plug on the Gobert experiment if things failed in year one. This leads one to wonder why the Timberwolves had such confidence in Gobert going in, despite the fact that he has never won a championship.
Tim Connelly and Chris Finch had a vision with Gobert from the beginning
Chris Finch pointed to Rudy Gobert’s success with Donovan Mitchell over the previous six seasons in Utah. No, the Jazz did not make an NBA Finals appearance, but they had a continued run of success with six consecutive playoff appearances, highlighted by their 2020-21 campaign in which they held the best record in the entire NBA.
In Finch’s mind, Connelly and the front office were not throwing away all that the team had built in 2021-22 by trading for Rudy Gobert. They were making a calculated risk to build on it. Referencing Utah’s playoff runs with Gobert and Mitchell, Finch said, “If we got a six-year run like that with this group, we would be thrilled.”
As much as things may have looked messy at times since Gobert arrived in Minnesota, the Timberwolves fanbase can rest easy knowing a well-thought out and concrete plan was in place from the beginning. Whether or not it brings a championship to the Twin Cities is yet to be seen, but there is no question the Timberwolves know what they are aiming for with Rudy Gobert.