Rudy Gobert Trade Continues to Pay Off for Timberwolves

NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves made it through a Western Conference second round playoff matchup against the defending champion Denver Nuggets. A large reason they did so was because of their defensive prowess.

Rudy Gobert, Jaden McDaniels named to NBA All-Defensive Teams

Now Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels will match up against the Dallas Mavericks as recently crowned NBA All-Defensive honorees, after Gobert was named 1st Team and McDaniels was named 2nd Team on Tuesday.

When the Minnesota Timberwolves sent a massive package to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Rudy Gobert, people got nervous. Then, when last season went off the rails, there was reason to wonder if Tim Connelly made a move that set the franchise back.

But another year removed, the Wolves are in the West Finals, Anthony Edwards is the next face of the NBA. KAT is saving the team in Game 7… and now, both Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels are getting their flowers.

Related: Former Timberwolves Turned Media Members Gush Over Anthony Edwards’ ‘It Factor’

Of course being named as an All-Defensive First Team player was going to happen for Gobert after being named the best defender in the NBA. What was less guaranteed is where Jaden McDaniels would finish. Grabbing second team honors, the Timberwolves’ rangy stretch forward got his due as well.

Rudy Gobert’s latest Defensive Player of the Year was the fourth of his career. He joined Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the only players to accomplish that feat during their career. Another DPOY next season would put him in a league of his own.

Rudy’s defensive acumen has been on full display during the playoffs and the Minnesota Timberwolves got everything they hoped for when shipping out Walker Kessler and a bunch of other parts.

A late first-round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, McDaniels was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schroder before he was sent to Minnesota for something named Aleksej Pokuševski.

You can bet that both the Lakers and Thunder would much prefer to have his services at this point, and Chris Finch will be relying on him massively during the Western Conference Finals, as the primary defender against Luka Doncic.

Related: Ant Said it, but Karl-Anthony Towns Forced Charles Barkley to Bring His Ass to Minnesota

Gobert played a massive role in knocking out the Denver Nuggets working as a rover and rim defender behind Karl Anthony Towns. He kept Nikola Jokic from getting the easy baskets inside, while forcing Jamal Murray from being able to drive the line.

McDaniels found himself working against both Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon at times, and came up with a couple of key offensive performances that brought Minnesota through the round. As great as Anthony Edwards has been for the Timberwolves this season on offense, it has been their defense that was a calling card all year long.

Both Gobert and McDaniels were in the middle of that reality, and seeing each of them be honored for their efforts is an outcome Chris Finch and Micah Nori have to be proud of. But no doubt, it was Rudy who brought the Wolves current tenacity and aggressive defensive style

The talented defensive duo will look for another eight games of strong work the rest of the way, and they can then add a ring along with team honors to their individual accomplishment.

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