It has been a little over a year since the Minnesota Timberwolves executed the trade that landed them three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. In one year with the franchise, Gobert helped the team reach the playoffs for a second consecutive year, and gave them tremendous production as an interior defensive presence.
But despite the level of player Rudy Gobert is, many were quick to harshly criticize the Timberwolves’ trade for him. Much of the criticism was centered around the rather large package Minnesota surrendered to the Utah Jazz to acquire him.
In all, the Timberwolves sent over four total first-round picks and an additional first-round pick swap along with five players in the deal as well. Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler and Jarred Vanderbilt were all packaged in order to acquire Rudy Gobert.
It is easy to see why the trade was widely chastised from the outset. The package for Gobert essentially set the standard for what it would take to acquire a big name star in the NBA going forward. But as time has gone on, we are seeing that perhaps this seemingly lavish trade may not be so crippling for the Timberwolves in the long run after all.
Let’s take a look at each player Minnesota dealt away in the Gobert trade, and where they are now.
This is where each player traded for Rudy Gobert is now:
1. Walker Kessler
Walker Kessler represents the biggest outlier among the group of players traded for Rudy Gobert. Not only is he the best of the five players included in the trade, but he would have theoretically been a fantastic fit in Minnesota this past season had the team not dealt him away.
Named to the All-Rookie First Team, Kessler had a dazzling rookie campaign for the Utah Jazz. He finished the season third in Rookie Of the Year voting and looked like one of the more dominant shot-blockers in the entire league.
It is certainly painful for Timberwolves fans to think that he could still be in Minnesota. But the bottom line is that Rudy Gobert is still a better overall player and better in his role than Walker Kessler, until further notice.
Any yearning to see Kessler in a Wolves uniform should quickly be quelled at remembering the reality that Rudy Gobert is locked into Minnesota for the long haul. And now that we are done with Kessler, the rest of this list becomes significantly more bearable to read.