The Minnesota Timberwolves rely so much on Rudy Gobert defensively. After all, defense is his best asset. However, Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch hasn’t been very happy about the performance of the center on that end of the floor lately, prompting him to make a blunt assessment of Gobert’s effort on defense prior to Wednesday night’s matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans (via Alan Horton).
“We’d like to see Rudy be a little more impactful challenging shots, he’s been a little bit timid there sometimes.”
The Timberwolves entered the showdown against the Pelicans seeking a win to end their three-game losing streak. They lost to the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and the Miami Heat in their last three games, during which they allowed an average of 112.7 points on 45.1 percent shooting from the field. Gobert was even benched by Finch down the stretch in the loss to the Heat in favor of Naz Reid.
By and large, Rudy Gobert is still a defensive menace, though a little bit more effort that Finch is looking for from him would further elevate the center’s impact. So far this season, Timberwolves opponents are shooting 6.2 percent worse on shots taken within six feet of the basket and 4.5 percent worse inside 10 feet when Gobert is on the floor. Overall, opponents shoot 2.2 percent worse when the French big man is on the court.
With Karl-Anthony Towns still out with an injury and won’t be back any time soon, Rudy Gobert is also expected to do more on offense.
Going into the Pelicans game, Gobert is averaging 13.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.