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Karl-Anthony Towns: Rudy Gobert 'Massive Part' of T-Wolves Being Championship Team

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 22, 2022

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Karl-Anthony Towns believes his new teammate, center Rudy Gobert, is a perfect frontcourt fit and should help the Timberwolves take the next step toward competing for a title.

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“[Rudy’s] gonna be a massive part of us being a championship team.”<br><br>Is Gobert the missing piece for the T-Wolves? 🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a> <a href="https://t.co/J4qKUURWRI">pic.twitter.com/J4qKUURWRI</a>

Towns told reporters Friday:

"I expect a lot of winning, for sure. ... I want to win. I'm not up here just blowing smoke. I really want to try to bring a championship right here to Minnesota. I think Rudy adds a huge component to that. He's gonna be a massive part of us being a championship team. My job is to help him as much as he's going to help me. His strengths are my weaknesses and his weaknesses are my strengths, so we'll be able to play off of each other."

There's no doubt that Towns and Gobert are almost opposite big men from a skill-set perspective.

Towns, 26, is one of the most talented offensive big men in basketball, posting 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from three.

The three-time All-Star is a three-level scorer and helped lead the Timberwolves to the postseason during the 2021-22 campaign. But he has never been a particularly adept rim-protector or defensive stopper at center, which has hindered the Wolves on that end.

The 30-year-old Gobert, meanwhile, is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and arguably the best defensive big man in basketball. Last season he averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

But Gobert's offensive impact mostly comes from putbacks and lobs. He's attempted a grand total of 11 threes for his career and hasn't made one. He's a solid roll man, sets strong picks and bangs on the offensive glass, but that's about the extent of his impact on that end.

Gobert also isn't perfect on the defensive end. Come the postseason, teams often played small against the Jazz, spacing the floor and forcing Gobert to defend out to the perimeter. The fact that the rest of the Jazz weren't particularly good as on-ball defenders didn't help.

But it's a reminder that the Timberwolves are going for a major zig by starting two 7-footers, while the rest of the NBA has tended to zag toward smaller, wing-heavy lineups.

There's no doubt the Timberwolves have a talented roster, highlighted by Towns, Gobert, Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell, among others. But Minnesota gave up five players, four first-round picks and a pick swap to land Gobert.

If the Wolves struggle behind the Towns-Gobert duo, that trade will prove to be disastrous.

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