The reputation of Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards is rising rapidly thanks to his stellar performance for Team USA in the 2023 FIBA World Cup competition. But international competition is a two-way street. Even though NBA careers can get a tremendous boost on the international stage, NBA careers can also suffer harmful setbacks.
And Minnesota Timberwolves star center Rudy Gobert knows that all too well from first-hand experience:
While it’s not an occasion to sound the alarms, Gobert’s performance is worth taking note of. After all, Gobert was added to the Minnesota Timberwolves roster at a heavy price, a price that was justified at the time because the trade would result in an elite NBA player adding continuity and consistency to the Timberwolves for many years to come.
But, what if he cannot perform at an elite level this season?
What does a worst-case scenario for Gobert look like?
While that means that the Timberwolves front office overpaid for Gobert, it would not be the first time that an NBA team overpaid to acquire a player. And you can bet that it will not be the last time that a team will overpay for a player, either.
In a worst-case scenario, the Timberwolves could conceivably stick with Karl-Anthony Towns as the primary player in the frontcourt, and assess their options over trading away or keeping Rudy Gobert on the roster as the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline approaches. But keep in mind that this is all based on a presumption of a worst-case scenario.
The Timberwolves need a rim-protecting center, and whether or not Rudy Gobert delivers 20 or more points per game, he continues to deliver on rebounds and blocked shots. The Timberwolves will graciously accept any offense that Gobert can generate. But the reality is that the Timberwolves path to success this season will not rely on Rudy Gobert’s points per game.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a much deeper and hopefully healthier roster this season. A speed bump from Rudy Gobert will not derail the team this season.