Rudy Gobert’s debut campaign with the Minnesota Timberwolves hasn’t exactly gone how anyone involved with the franchise envisioned. Even at his new team’s lowest point of 2022-23, though, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year isn’t losing hope in the Wolves’ ability to turn their season around.
A Twitter user responded to the Frenchman’s post about the death of soccer legend Pelé by cruelly wishing “RIP” to Minnesota’s season. Gobert quickly clapped back with a rose-cheeked smiley emoji, writing “Not so fast Pal.”
Among the 220,000,000 and growing users who “liked” Gobert’s tweet? All-Star teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s been sidelined by a right calf strain since late November. He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated in the next couple weeks.
Unfortunately for Minnesota’s star big men, though, there’s no guarantee that Towns’ return will jumpstart their team’s season. The Wolves were just 10-11 when he went down on November 28th, going a similar 6-8 in the interim. Minnesota’s -0.4 net rating without Towns is actually slightly better than its mark before he was injured, too, and its bears reminding that the Wolves have been outscored this season with he and Gobert sharing the floor this season, per Cleaning The Glass.
Gobert certainly bears some culpability for Minnesota’s struggles. He was nearly helpless to stop Zion Williamson at the rim in the New Orleans Pelicans’ thrilling win over the Wolves on Wednesday, and was outplayed by two-way player Orlando Robinson in Minnesota’s ugly loss to the short-handed Miami Heat two nights earlier.
Minnesota is currently on a season-long four-game losing streak, with a tough rad matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks coming on Friday.
Is it too late for the Wolves to make good on sky-high preseason expectations? Not quite, but the verdict might as well have already been read on the king’s ransom the front office gave up last summer in its blockbuster trade for Gobert. If he’s not a top-three defender in the world anymore, Minnesota will soon have to make some changes.
But keep from writing off the Wolves completely at least until Towns returns. He, Gobert and Anthony Edwards still comprise one of the most talented trios in all of basketball, fully capable of making some noise in the playoffs if they find the chemistry and cohesion that’s been lacking since the season the tipped off.