Can the Rudy Gobert trade work?
We know that this is one of the most overdone topics in the NBA, but it’s important for Wolves fans and the future of the franchise. Can the Rudy Gobert trade work or is it one of the worst trades in NBA history? As it stands, it looks like the latter, but we need to look at the various factors surrounding the Wolves’ seemingly disappointing 2022-23 form.
It can’t be denied that Gobert has not made the impact we wanted. When looking at NBA picks today and choosing the top NBA teams, Minnesota is not up there, despite being in eighth position in the West. But why is this? Is it because of the Stifle Tower? Or is it a combination of factors? We take a look in the article below.
The problems – Performances, injuries, chemistry and rumors
The NBA media, fans and analysts are quick to point the finger at Rudy Gobert, but is it that black and white? When you delve into things deeper, you can see that Minnesota has a range of problems including team chemistry, negative press, underperformance and injuries.
Problem 1 – Rudy Gobert is not performing
Ok, so let’s start by making one thing clear – Rudy Gobert is not performing at his peak. Some of the accountability must go to him. His numbers are down compared to his time at Utah, especially his defense, which is meant to be his strength!
For example, he is averaging just 1.3 blocks per game – this is the lowest since his rookie season. Usually, you can count on Gobert getting 2+ blocks per game, and 13+ rebounds. His current averages are 1.3 and 11.5, which is a far-cry from the multiple Defensive Player of the Year behemoth. When the guy you traded to boost your defense is not performing on defense, that’s never going to be good! Some people even go so far as to say that the Wolves are better when Gobert doesn’t play!
Problem 2 – The team chemistry is off
This brings us to our next problem. If you have watched the Wolves at all this season you can see that their team chemistry isn’t quite what it used to be. Again, most of this is due to the presence of Gobert.
He can clog up the lanes, slow down transition play and generally make things flow less smoothly. The Wolves are typically one of the top offensive performing teams, but this year they are just 11th in points per game (PPG). It’s clear that they haven’t quite figured out how to integrate Gobert properly into the team and make everything work seamlessly.
Problem 3 – Trade rumors never help
It doesn’t help that the media seems to love drumming up trade rumors about the Wolves. There are constant reports about the supposed unhappiness of players such as Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell. Furthermore, many people believe that Russell will get traded and it’s not difficult to see why when he continues to be inconsistent and fall short of his once All-Star pedigree.
Problem 4 – Ant Man
Anthony Edwards should be the face of the Wolves team for years to come. The owners need to invest in this incredibly talented young man and make him and KAT the focal point.
In the first part of the season, his form wasn’t excellent, and he almost looked to have regressed compared to his excellent sophomore year. Many believed this was due to a lack of chemistry with Gobert, and a difficulty to mesh with the big man’s playstyle.
However, that seems to be changing. His current season averages are way above last year with 24.1PPG and more assists and rebounds. Also, he has had some amazing games, such as his recent 44-point showcase. Hopefully, Ant Man can continue this and develop his game further.
Problem 5 – Injuries
Lastly, the team has suffered injuries that haven’t helped. Obviously, the major blow is KAT being sidelined from late November. Hopefully he will return soon, but his loss has been a big blow to the team, and it’s meant that they haven’t had a full chance to mesh and develop that all-important chemistry.
Gobert has missed games too, as has Russell. This constant shifting of starting lineups surely can’t help and prevents the Wolves from finding some type of consistency.
Immediate success isn’t likely, but don’t rule the Wolves out
As you can see, Gobert himself is a major problem in the Gobert trade and he needs to find some way to boost his own performances. Furthermore, the team certainly needs time to figure things out, build chemistry and see if they can make a version where everyone can coexist and be productive.
It’s clear that the immediate success that was expected from the Gobert trade just isn’t going to happen. If we make it into the playoffs and take a few games from teams such as Denver or Memphis, then we will have done well. However, that doesn’t mean that things can’t be improved long-term!