Role IV: Generate lockerroom chemistry
There is one aspect of any NBA team that is never a given, and that is how well the players gel together. The Minnesota Timberwolves team knew that the lineup had to improve their defense dramatically in order to improve their postseason performance, and the Timberwolves front office decided that center Rudy Gobert was that solution.
Whether or not that proves to be the case, from the moment that decision is made, it became imperative for the highest-paid players to do everything in their power to make that work. Unfortunately, D’Angelo Russell didn’t get the memo.
Timberwolves chemistry? TNT
In the locker room, the coaching staff was frantically searching for healthy bodies, effective lineups, and complementary skill sets to give the team a chance to win. They simply did not have the bandwidth to babysit players and ensure that they played nice. That was left up to the players, and you would expect that they would do their part.
The team cannot build any chemistry when one of the top-paid players is openly critical and frustrated with other players, particularly a newcomer to the roster with experience and accolades like Rudy Gobert. In the end, was DLo threatened by the fact that he suddenly found himself to be the fourth guy on a three-player core?
If D’Angelo Russell felt threatened by the arrival of Rudy Gobert, and how that might impact his own standing on the team, he was his own worst enemy. Or was it simply a glorified dynamic of the carpenter who smashes his thumb, but openly chides his hammer or nail? You decide.