After playing for the Utah Jazz since 2013, Rudy Gobert, one of the NBA’s most decorated rim protectors, has officially decided to take his talents to the Minnesota Timberwolves, shocking the entire league.
The Jazz has been making significant moves since the off-season started. Before the departure of Gobert from the team, Quin Snyder, the team’s head for eight years, had also opted to step down from the position in June. Just recently, the Jazz found a new leader in Will Hardy.
The trade of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year to the Minnesota Timberwolves had the Jazz ten new players on their roster in return, including the likes of Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverley.
With Gobert now being in the Timberwolves’ den, can he be the key in leading the team to its first-ever NBA title? Is this signing enough to make the Timberwolves rank high in the NBA odds 2022?
Warning: The Stifle Tower Has Risen
A towering 7-foot-1 center, Rudy Gobert was the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft selected by the Denver Nuggets. Due to his immense wingspan and standing reach, he was dubbed the “Stifle Tower”.
Later on, the Nuggets traded him to the Utah Jazz, immediately joining the team in the 2013 NBA Summer League.
In his rookie year with the team, Gobert made 45 appearances in the team’s 82 regular season games. Since then, the Stifle Tower has impetuously made a name for himself, improving drastically in his second year. He posted an average of 8.4 points per game, along with 0.8 steals and 2.3 blocks. These numbers earned him the third spot in the NBA Most Improved Player Award, all based on votes.
The following season, he stepped in as a full-time starter for the team and has since been the team’s ace, bagging several awards, and leading the Jazz to six playoff appearances.
A French national, Rudy Gobert has also been a part of the French National Team for quite a while now. He leads the Senior National Team to five podium finishes, including a second place
finish in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
And he just arrived from a spectacular EuroBasket, where France reached the final and Gobert was under the spotlight as one of the players of the tournament.
Rudy at #EuroBasket 2022:
▪️Silver Medalist 🥈
▪️All-Star 5 member 🌟 pic.twitter.com/zR1XH4b4Lk
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) September 18, 2022
A Jaw-Dropping Resume
The French Baller has also collected a significant number of awards throughout his NBA career. This includes the Blocks Leader, a spot in the All-NBA Second Team, and has since been a mainstay in the All-Defensive First Team — all in 2016-17 alone. The following year, he bagged the honors of Defensive Player of the Year and his second on the All-Defensive First Team. In 2018-19, he collected his second Defensive Player of the Year, a spot in the All-NBA Third Team, and another in the All-Defensive First Team.
The succeeding season saw him take home another spot in the All-NBA Third Team and in the All-Defensive First Team. In the 2020-21 season, he snatched another Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as spots both in the All-NBA Third Team and All-Defensive First Team.
With such an amazing career so far, backed by jaw-dropping game-by-game statistics, the 7-foot-1-inch baller will surely deliver for his new home, the Minnesota Timberwolves, in the upcoming NBA season.
the 3x DPOY is #18 on ESPN's NBA Rank. thoughts? pic.twitter.com/IS8IiAjTo6
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) September 21, 2022
Timberwolves’ 2022 Roster
The Timberwolves ended their 2021-22 NBA season campaign with a 46-36 slate, finishing 7th in the Western Conference. It was the team’s best record since the 2017-18 season when they placed 8th.
The previous season saw the Timberwolves go through the eye of the needle on their quest for a playoff spot before eventually falling into the hands of the ever-gritty Memphis Grizzlies. Nevertheless, it was such an astonishing run by the Timberwolves, bringing the team back to the playoffs after three years.
The upcoming season will parade new names for the Timberwolves, including Josh Minott (2022 draft), Kyle Anderson, Austin Rivers, and Bryn Forbes (free agency). Of course, Gobert is in the roster, earned via trade. However, the team lost some key players, including Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Josh Okogie, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Mainstays include Wendelle Moore Jr., Luka Garza and franchise pillars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, among others. They are also, allegedly, adding PJ Dozier to their team as a free agent.
Powerful. Relentless. Bold.
It's our time to make a 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭. pic.twitter.com/xuTZYfhzUO
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) September 15, 2022
Bottomline: Was Rudy Gobert Worth The Trade?
Since Gobert’s transfer to the Timberwolves’ den, many followers of the league speculated that he can only lead the team to another 40 to 50-win conference. Despite being one of the league’s leading centers for almost a decade, his minimal output offensively somehow made NBA enthusiasts wonder whether he really was worth the trade.
However, we cannot provide a definite conclusion to that assumption yet as the season is just about to begin in October. In the meantime, we can only cling to the Stifle Tower’s recent statistics and achievements in the NBA, which from a basketball expert’s perspective, are really promising and worth trading for.
With Gobert’s addition to the Towns-led team, can they finally bring home their first-ever NBA title?
Nothing is certain but one thing: If the Timberwolves, especially Gobert and Towns, will exhibit chemistry throughout the season, the team will surely be a huge threat to the league. Gobert’s defensive efficiency must complement Towns’ offense to bring the team up a notch. Otherwise, it’s going to be a really, really tough and rough season for the team.
The soon-to-be Goberts and Towns-led Minnesota Timberwolves will first see action in the 2022-23 NBA season on October 20 against the Oklahoma Thunders.
just another day in the office for Rudy 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/fbsyQNgu9L
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) September 16, 2022
Credits on Featured Image: Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons