In the summer of 2022, the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. At the time, this move appeared to be a dreadful trade. However, the Timberwolves are currently leading the West and have the NBA’s second-best record. This achievement is largely due to Gobert’s presence in the team. His statistics this season show significant improvement, which demonstrates his positive impact on the team’s performance. Furthermore, the Timberwolves’ defense ranking has drastically improved from number 10 to number 1, making them an elite defensive team.
Gobert has been healthy and only missed one game this season. He has also refined his shooting skills, and his defensive win shares are the highest in the league. Despite criticism regarding the trade, Gobert has proven his worth through his excellent performance. As the NBA emphasizes a space-and-pace offense, a traditional center like Gobert may seem out of place. However, he has learned to play alongside teammate Karl-Anthony Towns and demonstrated his defensive prowess.
Gobert’s skills as a defender have made it challenging for opposing players to score, with many converting at under 40% when guarded by him. His efforts, combined with Towns’ abilities, have contributed to their team’s impressive defense this season. Gobert’s defensive performance has positioned him as a strong contender for the Defensive Player of the Year.
Although the trade for Gobert was initially met with skepticism, his improved performance and better defensive abilities from his teammates have justified the trade. The Timberwolves will face the ultimate test of their team construction in the playoffs. The outcome will determine the legacy of Gobert and the impact of the trade on the team.