Gobert needs patience. Wolves fans want wins. Something has to give

Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timbewolves need time. The trouble is, the Minnesota Timberwolves fans may not be in any mood to give it to them.

When you upgrade from a dirt bike to a top-of-the-line Harley Davidson, there is quite a bit of time required to reorient yourself to the new cycle. When you upgrade from a stick-shift Volkswagen bug to a luxury car, the first day of ownership is a hit-or-miss trial over trying to find the dials, switches, buttons, and levers that make the car do what you want it to do.

In fact, in almost each and every scenario in life, when you upgrade, you need to allow yourself time to figure out what all of the new features mean, and do.

Right now, that is what the Minnesota Timberwolves are going through as this team tries to learn all of the new features brought to the team with the acquisition of Rudy Gobert. In fact, the point was driven home when Walker Kessler, the rookie center traded from the Timberwolves to the Jazz, roasted the Timberwolves for 20 points and 21 rebounds, while Gobert’s recent groin injury forced him to the locker room after just five minutes of playing time.

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What is, versus what the fans saw at Target Center

What fans who attended that game at Target center saw was what might have been, versus where the team is right now. Kessler was the first rookie drafted by Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly, and one of the first players the Jazz wanted in exchange for Gobert.

He was the standard plug-n-play and sit-back-and-wait type of rookie, a young man who will grow in spurts. Unfortunately, he grew in front of the Minnesota Timberwolves fans, fans who are already quite anxious that their team has fallen once more to those infamous NBA Ponzi schemes where the rich get richer, and the Minnesota Timberwolves get taken to the cleaners.

The problem with the Timberwolves trade is the irony. It’s usually the team that emerges with a sack full of draft picks that becomes the team that requires patience in order to sort out how well that trade went. But in this case, it’s the Timberwolves who are still installing the upgrade of Gobert, a process made that much more difficult thanks to injuries to Jordan McLaughlin and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Almost there . . .

Nobody can see around the corner for the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. And that is the greatest concern among the fans right now. Around the corner is the promised land, the time when it all falls into place and the Timberwolves’ full and healthy roster plays to its optimum.

That was the message at the start of the 2022-23 NBA season. Now, 45 games have been played, 37 games remain, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are 22-23. Fans have been hearing “Almost there . . .” throughout the season, but there is no way to know if this team is close, any closer or simply moving in a direction that never arrives at that destination.

The Minnesota Timberwolves did indeed make a risky move. And for the most part, fans have been and continue to be very supportive of the team.  That support presumed that the team knew and understood where it was going. And were that the case, the messaging needed to be instant: ‘This feast is going to take several seasons to prepare.’

Instead, the Timberwolves fans have been left to wander in the desert, as injuries and losses keep them from getting the satisfaction of knowing that this is truly a better team than before. Will the Minnesota Timberwolves click before the end of this season, and get that playoff berth?

Almost there . . .

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