« It’s good Rudy Gobert is back, I can play ghost defense »


Rudy Gobert has always had a problem with the Jazz: his teammates depended a little too much on him defensively and they sometimes left him alone against several opponents under the basket. And unfortunately, it is a situation which is repeated with the Wolves.

After a very promising season and a series of disputed playoffs against the Grizzlies, the leaders of the Timberwolves made a rather surprising and rare decision in the NBA microcosm: they tried to capitalize by bringing in Rudy Gobert and radically changing their game plan. Today, Minnesota must play big, even if it is not necessarily the fashion in the league anymore.

Unfortunately, after a quarter of the season, the results are more than mixed. The team has a record of 11 wins for 12 defeats, and worse, no one seems to respect the French pivot and his young teammates. Draymond Green proved it last week with an action, or rather a humiliation, which says a lot about the approach of the adversaries against Chris Finch’s men.

Wolves GM defends Rudy Gobert

But if fans and watchers start to throw in the towel and consider this XXL trade as the biggest failure in history recent league, the leaders are not yet ready to abdicate. This is particularly the case of Tim Connelly, the new GM of the franchise. In a long interview with The Athletiche did not hesitate to come to the defense of his new All-Star.

There is not a circle protector who can oppose point guards who dribble for 48 minutes. It won’t work like that. We had several moments in the season where the players said to themselves: “It’s good, Rudy Gobert is in the racquet so I can do ghost defense. “The arrival of Rudy will offer us favorable duels some evenings, and others it will be more difficult.

I think he’s still trying to come to terms with life with his new teammates, with his new coach. Personally, I think he’s still the best circle protector in the league, an outstanding rebounder, and he knows exactly what he can and can’t do on offense. Out of 82 games in a season, you can’t be at the top every time.

If fans are already calling the Rudy Gobert experience a failure, the Timberwolves GM is convinced that his flagship recruit is still in a phase of learning and discovering his new environment. He must indeed get used to life with another dominant interior, get used to Chris Finch’s system, which is different from the one known in Utah, which could explain the mixed start.

Rudy Gobert still has the confidence of his leaders, which should allow him to gain momentum quietly, without necessarily putting pressure on himself. But time is passing, and he will have to show real progress in the coming weeks…

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