D’Angelo Russell Calls Out Gobert, Rest of Wolves
What win streak? That’s what the (10-9) Minnesota Timberwolves were left asking themselves Friday night, after they snapped a 5-game run of consecutive victories by losing 110-108 vs a lowly Charlotte Hornets team. The Wolves were far from perfect, sure. But they were the better team, outside of an ugly, lopsided (39-21) 3rd quarter that cost them.
After the loss, D’Angelo Russell sounded fed up with the inconsistent basketball the Wolves have played over their first 19 games this season. He called out his teammates for their focus and didn’t mince words regarding expectations. DLo even called Rudy Gobert out for fumbling a late-game lob pass that should have been two easy points.
D'Angelo Russell. when asked about the team fighting inconsistency in effort within a game: "Guys are grown men. You’re either focused on doing what you got to do to help the team win, or you not."— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) November 26, 2022
Lastly, asked Russell about his chemistry with Rudy Gobert and how that has been coming along. His response: "He catch the ball, he’ll score."— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) November 26, 2022
Sign of leadership or downfall?
The trade for Rudy Gobert should have helped D’Angelo Russell’s game more than anyone else on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster. Instead, we’ve seen inconsistency in his play, just like we have everyone else’s. Their inconsistent play has led to fan frustration, at home games. Frustration that Gobert hasn’t handled well.
It’s difficult to fault DLo for his frustrations. Obviously, his season has been far from perfect. But it’s clear the Wolves are craving a leader who’s willing to stand up in their locker room, in both good times and bad. Leadership is something they’ve been missing without Patrick Beverley.
At what point do comments like this blur the line between a leader and a bad teammate, though? That depends, in part, on how the receiving party takes the criticism. Gobert, though somewhat taken aback by Russell’s criticism, took his words in stride when asked by media to respond.
"… right spots for him to find me. Whether it’s that pocket pass or that lob, any pass actually, just trusting me. I think it’s been good for us. …— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) November 26, 2022
"I’ve got to be able to give him even more confidence and make sure I catch all of them. … (2/3)
"… I think we’re going to get to that point. If shit happens, shit happens. But for the most part, usually, good things happen."— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) November 26, 2022
Time Will Tell…
Unlike others, I’m not ready to crown this season as a failure already. One has to wonder, however, whether these comments from DLo are the beginning of a total system failure. Or, if it’s just a bump in the road of a successful season that ends in another playoff appearance.
Only time will tell but antennas should be up for Minnesota Timberwolves fans everywhere.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan