3 Timberwolves who are underperforming, 3 exceeding expectations at the midseason break

Minnesota Timberwolves v Portland Trail Blazers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Portland Trail Blazers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Exceeding Expectations: Rudy Gobert

It's not typical that a player can be both overrated and underrated at the same time. However, that player does exist and his name is Rudy Gobert. Being a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, it's impossible to be overlooked.

Throughout his career, Gobert has consistently excelled on the defensive end. Despite his all-world defensive contributions, his perception as a player is less-than-stellar. It may be because of his rigid offensive game or because of his many feuds with current players, but all in all, Gobert is a difference-maker in this league.

Since Gobert became a full-time starter in 2015-16, his team has never ranked worse than 13th in the league in defensive rating. Over those nine years, his team has ranked inside the top three in more than half of the nine seasons.

This season, Gobert has unlocked the Timberwolves' defensive potential. Minnesota ranks first in the NBA in defensive rating and allows the least points per game. The Wolves also rank in the top 10 in both block and defensive rebound percentage.

Aside from his direct correlation to top-notch team defense, Gobert is a tremendous individual defender. The "stifle tower" ranks first in the league in defensive rating and defensive win shares.

After a relatively down year a season ago, Gobert is back up above 2.0 blocks per game. He's also back over the 12-rebound per game mark, averaging 12.5 boards per contest. The seven-foot big man is a once-in-a-lifetime interior defender.

Gobert is forcing his opponents to shoot a mind-boggling 14.9 percent worse on field goal attempts within six feet. The French center ranks in the 100th percentile of all NBA players when it comes to crafted defensive plus-minus.

The Gobert-to-Minnesota trade was initially viewed as a blunder for the Timberwolves. Now, less than two seasons later, the Wolves are first in the West and Gobert deserves much of the credit.