One year ago, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert specifically to add an elite NBA rim protector to their roster. While the strategy was a bit controversial, the Timberwolves simply traded for Rudy Gobert, and whatever the contract terms that he had negotiated with the Utah Jazz previously. The Timberwolves did not set the term of that deal, merely picked up the NBA team’s side of the contract.
The Golden State Warriors have been a rather successful team for quite some time and redefined the NBA path to success with a small ball roster that specializes in spacing, and frustratingly effective defense. The Warriors always seem to boast a number of gifted three-point shooters, with their two stars, guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, having been affectionately coined as the “Splash Brothers,” who seem to have an innate ability to score from anywhere on a basketball court.
Of course, there are others on the team who have been just as newsworthy. One such player is their power forward Draymond Green, a player who has been known for controversy both on and off the basketball court. Of course, with that reputation, anyone who places an open microphone in front of him has to understand that anything can come out of his mouth.
The discussion turns to rookie center Victor Wembanyama and his potential in the NBA at or around the 51:00 mark. Green is very complimentary about Wembanyama’s skill set, and talks about how he has the ability to force defenders to press hard from the moment he starts running down the basketball court.
The conversation turns to Wembanyama’s ability to be an elite rim-protector at the 54:30 mark, and then he takes a backhand swat at Timberwolves Rudy Gobert by describing him already as an elite rim-protector as anyone in the NBA today.
Then, at the 55:20 mark, Green takes the gloves off and says:
"“And as we all know, teams are always looking for rim protectors. You get paid . . . I mean, there’s somebody in the NBA getting paid as a rim protector (referring to Rudy Gobert), probably more money than you, which is a lot of money. (And he’s from France too?) Yeah, he is from France too. He gets paid a lot of money, a LOT of money, as an elite rim protector. . . ” – per Draymond Green on Podcast P with Paul George"
While he does not say anything that is not completely untrue, Green’s simplistic version of how to earn an NBA max contract is to stand tall and protect the basket from opponent’s shots.
And it’s that nearly sarcastic style in his delivery, compared to his history of controversial comments and stirring the pot, that makes these comments infused with innuendos and double meaning. While Green is an equal opportunity controversy, it’s clear that his willingness to cite the Minnesota Timberwolves and Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert means that the Wolves are on his mind.