III: Rudy Gobert – Rebounding
The Minnesota Timberwolves had high expectations after adding All-Star center Rudy Gobert. But while injuries limited the Timberwolves’ success, the true enigma of the Minnesota Timberwolves from the 2022-23 NBA season is the fact that the team finished so horrifically in terms of team rebounds.
The Timberwolves ended the 2022-23 NBA season with just 41.9 rebounds per game, with was only good enough for 23rd-best in the NBA. The previous season, the Timberwolves finished the season with 44.1 rebounds per game, and that was good enough for 16th-best in the NBA. Sadly, the Timberwolves included the 11.6 rebounds per game contribution from Rudy Gobert.
Rudy’s rebound recovery
But in comparison, Rudy Gobert’s 11.6 rebound per game performance was simply his career average, and a far cry less than the 14.7 rebounds per game he had generated for the Utah Jazz the previous season. So how might the TImberwolves have fared in rebounding with the 2021-22 version of Rudy Gobert?
That extra 3.1 rebounds per game would have catapulted the Minnesota Timberwolves to 45.0 rebounds per game. At that level, the Timberwolves team rebounding would have landed among the Top-10 NBA teams. That would have been enough to help the Timberwolves win a few more games.
And at 14.7 rebounds per game, Rudy Gobert would have led the entire NBA in rebounding by a comfortable margin. Can he achieve that level again? I think so. The Minnesota Timberwolves have loaded up the roster with perimeter defenders, which should force times to attack the basket more this season. That places more opportunities to rebound and block shots in the lap of Rudy Gobert, and I believe that he rebounds nicely this season (pun intended).