Impact of Rudy commanding attention on the perimeter
One common theme I’ve always seen from the Twin Tower naysayers is that Rudy clogs the pain for Anthony Edwards. In the clips shown on the previous slide, I had pointed out how deep the opposing center would sag off Gobert. This was primarily done to deter Edwards from blazing a trail to the rim all night, but without any real threat from Gobert on the perimeter leaves the defense able to cheat.
Now, because Gobert will not be respected on the perimeter until he regularly proves he can make a trey at a clip that demands him to be respected, Rudy stands to get wide-open looks off any pick-and-pop situation. He’ll initially have the time to gather the ball, set his feet, and let it fly. But if he can’t make the defense pay for leaving him wide open, the defense will simply allow that shot all day.
Let’s say in our little perfect hypothetical world that he does force the defense to acknowledge him, then his man will inevitably be forced to guard up in coverage and slightly further away from the rim. Those few steps are all Anthony Edwards needs to make his move to the hoop. Sure, Edwards will still have to finish through contact, but what those steps do is open up just enough space to create more options in the offense.
For a team that struggled with spacing and chemistry issues last year, Rudy Gobert adding the threat of a three-ball allows you to play him even more prominently as a screener and pick-and-roll/pop threat on the perimeter.
If he can command just a hair of respect from the defense on the perimeter, it opens up space for his teammates to put pressure on the defense. Forcing a defense to move and react creates opportunities to swing the ball for open looks on the perimeter and at the rim. When he’s up on the perimeter, then he’s not down low with his man in the paint.
Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards struggled at times with their offensive chemistry last season. Getting those two on the same page, while opening up the floor is a recipe for the Timberwolves’ win total to skyrocket up the standings.
That is fun to think about.