Sports

Timberwolves’ twin tower problem


Early profits from Rudy Gobert’s sale to the Minnesota Timberwolves are clearly discouraging.

Sure, it’s too early to make a verdict on the trade: move five draft picks in the first round, swap picks and four players (three of whom are key contributors to the 2021 campaign). Wolves’ -22, one of their best campaigns since). Kevin Garnett passed away 15 years ago) is not something you do to experience the glory in November.

When spring comes, the hammer can begin to hit the table much louder. But at this point, those looking to slam into trading have little reason to give up.

Minnesota is 10-10. We’re into a quarter of the season and those who object that we don’t have a compelling sample size to decide they’re mediocre should consider that April standings are often very similar to April standings. early December.

And they could have had a worse record without a light fixture – their fixture is fifth-easiest in the league, by one metric.

Their offense is below average, but looks bad, with the Gobert-Karl-Anthony striker skeptic enjoying the occasional catastrophic lowlights.

The twin tower formation is difficult to play well in 2022, and it can be impossible when either of the big two can’t dribble or shoot, as is the case with Gobert.

Perhaps if he or Towns were a super-sophisticated chemist, able to manage complex screen systems and sense teammates moving without the ball before unleashing devilish passes to them, their overwhelming logistical problems can be solved with ingenuity.

However, that’s not the case either — and their guardians aren’t as flexible either.

Anthony Edwards looks like a kid who doesn’t care about making new friends, hands on hips and standing motionless on top of keys when he doesn’t like the call game.

D’Angelo Russell is mostly himself, which means he can score a lot of points at times, and he can make an okay pick-and-roll, but he’s also not a sentence. answers to this kind of conundrum, and never has. already.

Looks like head coach Chris Finch is the man the head office trusts to figure out this crazy puzzle. But he’s not on the floor and doesn’t seem to have a useful proxy there either.

And asking him to write a suitable playbook for this group is like asking someone to beat Super Mario without the jump button.

Everyone seems to know it, too: The Wolves really haven’t been tight-lipped with the media when it comes to their struggles, with Edwards complaining about the lack of space to work and Towns complaining about fitness and Edwards diet.

The fans booed, and Gobert told them to stay home. Expectations for a 46-game winning team after their breakout season with a franchise change must be somewhere close to a championship run.

The Wolves, right now, look like a team that will struggle to qualify for the Western Conference Qualifiers.

Their move seems to have failed—again, the result of which can still emerge later and prove otherwise, but visualizing this outcome puts an increasing strain on the imagination.

Going forward, Minnesota has the toughest schedule in the NBA’s seventh; they will see teams more equipped to exploit their obvious weaknesses.

Betting on the giant ball that the Towns-Gobert pair represents is not unheard of—it’s not even uncommon in recent years.

During the 2019-20 season, the Philadelphia 76ers built a massive main roster by combining Joel Embiid and Al Horford.

Both are menaces as shooters and creators, and thus far more qualified than Gobert to share the front yard with another real center, but neither can. maximized as a floor buffer stands at arc and the overall lack of speed their fusion has produced. it was hard for Ben Simmons to let loose in public trial.

As was the case with Minnesota, people now look disgruntled with their glaring differences, and the Sixers become an uncomfortable watch both tactically and emotionally.

However, Philadelphia didn’t blow up their futures platform to put this dubious lineup together. They moved Horford for the next season, added more footage, and improved dramatically in the following season as a result.

They also used their 2020 first-round draft pick to take down Tyrese Maxey; Wolves’ latest pick is with Jazz in the trade, and with that, they’ve picked Walker Kessler, an immediate contributor.

Minnesota also won’t have a first pick in the next draft (either in 2025, 2027, or 2029). Again, they also don’t have the players they sent to Utah – the relentless attitude and defense of Jared Vanderbilt, the formidable leadership of Pat Beverley and the shooting ability of Malik Beasley, all have solved problems that this team no longer has answers to.

Now, there’s almost no way out of what they’ve built, except for the possibility of another big deal. And what would that even look like?

Gobert is a depressed asset after people saw how difficult it was for him to strike outside of Quin Snyder’s system in Utah, with Russell also earning more than he’s worth to most. teams.

Towns and Edwards are seen as the duo that everything is built around, with Gobert being the driving force behind them, but with the grand plan failing as badly as it is now, there’s no way for the team to meaningfully improve. meaning if not trade off one of them.

It’s not something they’re going to do easily, and it’s probably not even an idea they’ve taken seriously. But the Wolves didn’t have much time to improve before it was time to review the emergency process.

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