Is Rudy Gobert Really Going to Start Shooting 3-Pointers?

Photo: Guillaume Poumarede

The start of the Minnesota Timberwolves season is still months away but stars across the NBA are meeting on the other side of the Pacific Ocean this weekend (Japan, Philippines, Indonesia) to begin the FIBA World Cup tournament.

Among the participants are all three members of the Wolves’ “Big 3”. Anthony Edwards has become the face of Team USA, Karl-Anthony Towns will lead the Dominican Republic and Rudy Gobert is a longtime international staple of Team France.

Rudy Gobert the 3-point specialist???

It’s exciting to watch the growth of Ant, as he looks to lead Team USA to the gold medal and some intense overseas competition will be good for KAT too. But there’s one offseason storyline that I can’t look past any longer. There are videos all over the internet (like a lot of videos) of Rudy Gobert shooting (and making) 3-point shots this summer.

Is this really happening? Are we going to see Rudy Gobert shooting 3-pointers during the FIBA World Cup and, if so, could he carry such a threat into the NBA season? Because he’s sure been trying to make us believe as much…

Gobert has been in the NBA for 10 seasons and he has shot a grand total of 14 three pointers. How many has he made? ZERO.

Most of my basketball brain tells me that this is a bad idea. A 31-year-old 7-footer, who’s been a strictly back to the basket player on offense and an elite low post defender on the other end, for his entire career can’t possibly become a legitimate outside shooting threat in one offseason.

But, what if…

Yet, there is a small part of me that dreams of how much better the Minnesota Timberwolves’ offense would be if such an offseason miracle were to take place. Rudy is nearly unplayable at the end of games, sometimes, because he doesn’t need to be guarded beyond the free throw line. Joke is on the defense, though, since he can’t make make a free throw anyway.

But Rudy looked like a different guy from the charity strike during France’s exhibition play over the last month, (unofficially) going 26/32 (81.3%) from the line. His spike in free throw percentage seems to coincide with his newfound talent from beyond the 3-point arc.

It’s worth noting that, in the spring, Gobert told Jace Frederick (Pioneer Press) he hasn’t reached his full potential as a basketball player. That there are more gears he has yet to reach. Could shooting from the free throw and 3-point line be the additions to his game that he was hinting at?

It’s hard to imagine Rudy Gobert being any sort of outside shooting threat but if he could bring the defense out, even a few feet, when he has the ball at the top of the key or if he can improve his free throw shooting by 10 percent (64% career FT shooter), it could have a huge impact on how smoothly the Timberwolves offense can operate while he and KAT are on the floor together.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

Mentioned in this article:

More About: