The Minnesota Timberwolves trade for Rudy Gobert is a disaster

Each week during the 2022-23 NBA season, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the league’s biggest happenings in an effort to determine if the trends are based more on fact or fantasy moving forward.

The Rudy Goubert Trade is a terrible disaster

When Minnesota Timberwolves She offered to double Tim Connelly’s salary And the give it Undisclosed share If he switches teams as the Chief Executive Officer of Basketball, Denver Nuggets Governor Josh Kroenke described chasing their Northwest Division rival as “Burning to“Team move act like”startup. “

Little did he know how desperate new Timberwolves owners Mark Lower and Alex Rodriguez were.

After a month on the job, Connelly has traded three players with a 46-win rotation and seven first-round draft picks this decade— Leandro Polmaro (2020), Walker Kessler (2022), Unprotected Picks in 2023, 2025, and 2027, Top Five Protected Picks in 2029 and 2026 Swaps—to Utah Jazz Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. price It shocked rival executives Minnesota players.

As a Wolves veteran Taurus put it, According to ESPN’s Brian WindhorstIt wasn’t that it put us in a bad mood, but uh, we were surprised. Not exactly the endorsement you want to hear when you’re just betting the long-term future of your franchise on a guy who you think can make a championship in the next four years.

The first 15 matches of the season gave no indication that the pundits who widely criticized the deal were misguided. The Wolves are average or worse in every way imaginable, and their most glaring weaknesses are exactly the issues they should have worried about when paying a king’s ransom for a 30-year-old center with a one-win record in a playoff series in the past four years, despite winning 50 games per season.

Presumably, Minnesota acquired Gobert to improve last season’s 13th-ranked defense and create more offensive space than he musters with his screen and edge runs. Only, it should have been obvious to anyone watching the NBA that Joubert would steal the Wolves that made them special – All-NBA 7-footer Unleashed Cities Carl Anthonyone of the greatest shortstop players in NBA history, as a small ball center.

Minnesota outscored opponents by 5.6 points per 100 possessions with Towns at center last season, scoring more often than the best offenses ever to play the game, According to “Cleaning Glass”. Presence of defensive powerhouses Patrick Beverly And the Jared VanderbiltHowever, both crossed multiple locations on the perimeter, preventing Minnesota from succumbing to Townes’ weak points on that end.

Towns has already played more power forward than he did all last season, and the results have been disastrous. The Wolves post the equivalent of a top three defense when Joubert and Towns share the field but score an average of a bottom three in the same minutes, resulting in a net rating of -2.5 points per 100 possessions. It was even worse with Joubert on the floor. The attack was better than last season in the formations that include Towns and there is no Joubert, but these units are marginally superior to the opponents, because Kyle Anderson And the Jaden McDaniels Don’t hide your many defensive problems.

The choice now is between good defense and bad attack, or bad defense and good attack.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been outpaced by 30 points in Rudy Gobert's minutes this season.  (David Birding/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been outpaced by 30 points in Rudy Gobert’s minutes this season. (David Birding/Getty Images)

Joubert didn’t unleash the pick-and-roll games of D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards. Russell and Joubert manage the sixth most shots of any combination in the league and produce at an average (0.981 points per chance). Edwards and Joubert are also a top 30 duo, scoring only 0.798 points on each possession that Edwards shoots directly, is fouled, converted or passes to someone who shoots immediately outside the catch zone. This ranks 122 of the 138 tandems who have played at least 50 pick-and-rolls, on Spectrum II. Like Kevin O’Connor in Ranger pointed outEdwards passed to Joubert only twice in the 125 pick-and-rolls they had together.

When it took Edwards 10 games to record his first dunk of the season, he told reportersYou watch the game. Every time I get to the edge, I don’t have a chance to dunk. Everyone’s in the paint. I have to know how to put the ball. I’m all 6-4, I can’t jump over everyone. I’m not as tall as Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Everyone tells me to dip the ball like it’s just peaches and cream. I have to get a good lane to sink the ball. Every time I drive, there are five people. For me, finishing a workout is very difficult, I would tell.”

This is nothing but a direct shot at Joubert. Same with Edwards after losing to Vanderbilt, Owner PaisleyKessler and the Jazz in their second game of the year:The smaller we go, the better for me.

This is the problem with cashing out all your trading chips to build around 21. Towns and Gobert should be the leaders in the Minnesota locker room, but they both have a history negatively collision with more assertive co-stars. Everyone in the organization knows that Edwards will eventually be Minnesota’s alpha dog, but he’s not ready to shoulder that burden—at least not for a team that’s ready to compete.

Edwards described his team as “soft”, and their lack of interest was evident.

It’s not a great sign when the first overall pick in the 2020 draft gets waived,”It’s normal for me to be bad at your back“It could be worse that Towns—the top pick in the league five years before Edwards—threw gasoline on that fire, telling reporters, ‘Maybe I can do a better job of teaching him how to take care of his body, his diet and everything. I know you all think it’s funny here when he’s talking about Popeyes and all that s***. That doesn’t make me happy to hear that. We are high-level athletes.”

For every indication that the Timberwolves have to do better — they are somehow the second-worst defensive rebounding team in the league and allow more second chance points (18.5 per game) than anyone with two 7-footers in the starting lineup — there are a bunch more Indicate that this is what they are. Their shooting efficiency metrics rank in the top ten, but their offensive rating is barely average. They don’t create a quality 3-point look and they don’t feature anyone making them reliably, and they turn the ball over a ton.

The opposite is true for their opponents, who shoot below their expected percentages on a raft of high-quality 3-point chances, and Minnesota’s porous transitional defense makes goal-scoring opportunities easier.

All of this should have been expected when the team considered the acquisition of Gobert. However, she did it anyway, and it’s nowhere nearer to contention – and perhaps further from it. Edwards is not guaranteed to be first-choice in a team that can win a title, and if he gets there, Joubert will be in his mid-30s when that happens and will certainly be the subject of more years of sniping about his penchant for the title. Paint clogging.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves could forfeit Russell’s salary cap if they can’t overturn his contract before he reaches free agency. Most likely, offloading Russell’s deal will cost Minnesota assets — devastating, given that What he gave up to get. Or worse, the Wolves could reinvest in Russell and this mediocrity.

The most likely scenario for the 15-game Gobert to experience is that he will force another panic move this year or next, possibly even breaking up with Towns. It does not work. Will not work. The only other option is to trade Gobert, and there may not be a team that pays half of the price Gobert that Minnesota paid.

It is hard to imagine a trade that would have been worse under the circumstances. Bill Russell did not want to join the St. Louis Walkers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wanted to direct Milwaukee Bucks. Wolves didn’t have to do that.

The closest comparison at this point is Brooklyn Networks2013 was replaced by aging duo Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who had just one playoff win for the Nets before returning to the championship. Boston Celtics had become Jason Tatum And the Jaylen Brown. We knew it was bad at the time, but we didn’t know it was going to be that bad.

This has the same feeling, and it can get worse terribly quickly.

The Timberwolves (7-8) are 10th in a crowded Western Conference, and are clinging to their last championship berth a month into the season. Defender hero Golden State Warriors You haven’t entered the battle yet, and everyone else ahead of Minnesota should stay in the race—except for Jazz. The Coyotes might not make the playoffs anyway, but can you imagine if Utah prevented them from even securing a playoff berth?

The Jazz have less incentive to lose now that they own Minnesota’s unprotected 2023 first-round pick, and two losses are currently short of securing a 9% chance of a touchdown. Generational prospect Victor Wimpanyama. Four more selections are coming after that, the latest of which comes near Joubert’s 37th birthday.

Do you know who could use those screenshots? Connelly, whose strength in Denver was his ability to spot talent in the draft, including Nikola JokicAnd the Jamal MurrayAnd the Michael Porter Jr And Hyland’s bones. Well, except for his first move as a chief executive — trading the 27th pick that became Gobert to Utah State for pittance in 2013.

determination: Reality. Joubert’s trade is a terrible disaster.

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Ben Rohrbach Writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have advice? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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