Can Minnesota Timberwolves throw some Pistons in the rematch?

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Reason II: Rudy Gobert’s dominance

The Minnesota Timberwolves roster is finally beginning to show signs of understanding how to optimize Rudy Gobert’s presence on the basketball court. In 20/20 hindsight, Gobert’s role is not to manufacture his own shots as much as it is to hang around the basket, body block for prime position under or near the basket, get rebounds, or simply score when he is fed those spectacular alley-oops.

The problem is that the rest of the Timberwolves’ roster was not very good at feeding Rudy Gobert the ball. In fact, in the early games, the best player to include Rudy Gobert in the Minnesota Timberwolves offense was his teammate Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns was very good at driving to the basket, drawing the defense to him, and then at the last second feeding the basketball to Gobert and letting him either dunk it through the hoop or simply roll it off his fingers for an easy layup. But KAT has been out more than a month, and that has put Gobert’s offense on the downside.

That was then, this is now

But we are seeing a new surge in Rudy Gobert’s offense, and no Karl-Anthony Towns feeding him the basketball. What gives? Well, that was then, this is now. The Minnesota Timberwolves roster, much like Mother Nature, hates a vacuum. And so, Gobert’s teammates have begun to chip away at getting him the basketball. Shooting guard Anthony Edwards has been completely selfless in his willingness to get Gobert active in scoring. But so too have forward Jaden McDaniels and point forward Kyle Anderson.

The result has been noticeable. Gobert’s offensive output for the month of January 2023 is up three points over his seasonal average. And a more active Gobert on offense has nudged the rest of his game up a bit too. Gobert only scored nine points against the Detroit Pistons in their first meeting. I’d look for Gobert to be a far greater offensive presence for the Timberwolves in this one.