There were lots of jokes made about the trade of center Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves before last season. Everyone said the Timberwolves gave up too much.
And at the time, that looked to be the case.
Not this year.
Instead, Gobert is a borderline All-Star, perhaps the league’s greatest defensive force in the paint and the Timberwolves (36-16) sit in first place in the Western Conference.
New coach Doc Rivers and the Milwaukee Bucks got a first-hand look at Gobert, as the Wolves took it to them, with Minnesota coasting to a 129-105 victory. Along with Gobert, the Timberwolves boast talents such as big man Karl-Anthony Towns, shooting guard Anthony Edwards, point guard Mike Conley and more. For coach Chris Finch, everything just fits.
“I don’t think anyone’s laughing at that trade anymore,” Rivers told reporters.
“They’re just so long, and they play hard, too. Like I was really impressed with that late in the game when they still had their starters off. They were fighting through screens … you know, it’s a team that you can see that thinks they have a chance.”
Gobert? Minnesota? Success? It’s working out that way despite what all the so-called experts were claiming early on.