One of the challenges from the Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting-five roster from the 2022-23 NBA season was the fact that All-Star center Rudy Gobert was not involved in the offense. Of course, that was due to the fact that the Timberwolves hadn’t enough experience working with him enough to know how to fix that. But one thing is certain about the 2023-24 NBA season. The Timberwolves need to get Gobert more involved in this offense.
But to do so, they may need to try less. Just look at this box score from the Stifle Tower:
It’s almost embarrassing knowing that Gobert was able to score 65.9 percent from the floor, which is very nearly two scores out of three shots taken.
Get the ball to Gobert
And yet, the Timberwolves ended a game against the Phoenix Suns where the big man played over 32 minutes and ended the game with just one shot at the basket.
Granted, that was just the eighth game for Rudy Gobert playing on the Timberwolves roster. But some things truly stand out from that game. Backup guard Jaylen Nowell took 13 shots from the floor in that game, scoring just four times. PG D’Angelo Russell took eight shots at the basket and scored just twice. Even young star shooting guard Anthony Edwards took 11 shots from two-point range, scoring just three times.
All told, the three players combined for 32 shots, and scored just nine times. Had Gobert taken that same volume of shots, rather than 18 points, the Timberwolves would have scored 40+ points.
And this year, Gobert appears to have added a three-point shot to his arsenal:
So it really makes sense for the Minnesota Timberwolves to feed the ball to Gobert this season, doesn’t it? Well, that should not be a problem. How so? Since the Timberwolves shed PG D’Angelo Russell and replaced him with veteran PG Mike Conley Jr., Gobert has averaged nearly nine shots at the basket per game. That’s better than a full shot per game better than his season average, and nearly two shots per game better than his average from November 2022 through January 2023.
Gobert has consistently possessed one of the best NBA career field goal percentages of his time. For the Timberwolves, the team simply failed to take advantage of that fact and may have lost several games due to the inability to get Gobert the basketball.
One of the key reasons to acquire Mike Conley Jr. at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline was the need to get Gobert much more involved in the Minnesota Timberwolves offense. And in the 2023-24 NBA season, it looks like the team is on pace to do exactly that.