Timberwolves Rudy Gobert proves to be more than big obstacle

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves purchased All-Star center Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz for a pretty high price. But when he joined the Timberwolves roster, he didn’t come with an instruction manual. That forced his teammates to guess at ways to make use of him, oftentimes relying upon his defensive prowess to reject shots at the basket, or haul in rebounds, but not paying much interest in Gobert on the offensive side of the basketball court.

Well, the times they are a’changing. And the winds of change bring warm relief to a Minnesota Timberwolves team that is desperate for a thaw.  This is a team that has had little time to truly prepare for the challenges of the 2022-23 season before a number of injuries sidelined key players.

Naturally, Timberwolves fans turned their attention to Rudy Gobert, the pearl of great price who was added to the Timberwolves roster to make this team better. But Gobert’s offense is not self-generating. For Gobert to put points on the scoreboard, he needs help from his teammates to feed him the basketball. Unfortunately, that is not something that his teammates were very good at.

Well, they are getting better.

Gobert is not getting better, his teammates are

So far in the new 2023 calendar year, Gobert’s offense has taken a huge leap upward. While the sample size is admittedly small, just four games, his seasonal average of 13.7 points per game has ballooned into 17.0 points per game. With that surge of scoring, Gobert is upping his game on blocked shots, now averaging 2.0 blocked shots in January 2023. So what has Rudy Gobert done to improve his game? Absolutely nothing. He is the same player that he has always been.

The difference now is that the Minnesota Timberwolves are beginning to trust and believe in their teammate. And as his teammates get him more involved on the offense, his entire game is ramping up.  In his past three games, Gobert has averaged 20 points, 14.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks, all better than his season averages. But these are the numbers, the type of production, that the Minnesota Timberwolves projected when the team acquired Rudy Gobert.

Now here is the best part: He will only get better.

Because Gobert is so dependent upon his teammates to produce to expectations (or exceed them), the more comfortable his teammates become with Gobert, the better he plays for the team. And right now, he is just beginning to set a solid stride.

Better days ahead? Hopefully. The Timberwolves need to do much better than hovering around .500 basketball, and the recent surge of Rudy Gobert on the Timberwolves roster ensures that the team has a chance to do exactly that.

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