Rudy Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves yesterday for a hefty package of Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leonardo Bolmaro, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 first-round pick, a 2027 first-round pick (all three of these are unprotected), and a top-five protected 2029 first-round pick.
When I initially heard about this trade, I was stunned. Minnesota of all places? Why? They already have an All-Star center in Karl-Anthony Towns! They don’t need Gobert!
…was what I thought until I did my research. Then I realized that this could actually work out very well.
Towns has proven to be an offensive powerhouse during his time in the NBA, averaging 23.2 points and 11.3 rebounds for his career while shooting a solid 53% from the field and 40% from three. While Towns doesn’t exactly have much experience playing the four (according to Basketball Reference, he’s spent 1% of his career minutes playing power forward), he can stretch the floor with his shooting. Plus, Towns is only an average defender.
On the other hand, the Stifle Tower is a defensive anchor, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year. This past year, he averaged 15.6 points (on pretty much all lobs and put-back dunks), 14.7 rebounds (league leader), and 2.1 blocks on 71.3% shooting from the field (league leader). While Gobert doesn’t work in small ball lineups, he’s a monster in the regular season. Whenever I say the Twin Towers about these two seven footers, I think of Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon (or Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins), and while they never won a championship together, they got really close. These Timberwolves were already really good; by adding Gobert, they’ll improve their defense and become a better overall team. Plus, how are teams going to defend against two seven footers? Good luck trying to figure that one out.
Also, isn’t it fitting how the Twin Cities get Twin Towers?
As for the Utah Jazz, it’s more likely that they’ll try to reshape the roster around All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell instead of trading him. However, it’s important to remember; Danny Ainge is running this front office now. Remember the last time Ainge made a trade for three unprotected first-round picks? That was when he was the GM of the Celtics, and he traded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Nets. We know how that worked out; the Celtics got Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and set themselves up for a 2022 NBA Finals run. If for some reason things don’t work out in Minnesota, those picks become very valuable.
The Jazz got a decent amount of assets back from this trade; Beverley is a pesky defender, Beasley is capable of averaging 20 points per game, and Kessler has very high upside as a shot blocker. If he can fulfill his potential, then Utah’s step back will only be temporary.
Or maybe they’ll trade Mitchell, and begin a full-scale rebuild. After all, the Jazz did trade Royce O’Neale for a first-round pick, waived Juancho Hernangomez, and didn’t extend qualifying offers to Eric Paschall (a buddy of Mitchell’s), and Trent Forrest. This could be to clear up cap space so they can sign a new superstar to team with Mitchell, or it could be to start a rebuild.
The Jazz are going to be an interesting team to keep an eye on for the rest of free agency. As for the Timberwolves, they could become everybody’s favorite NBA League Pass team for the 2022-23 season. I can’t wait to see Towns and Gobert on the floor together.
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