As his FIBA World Cup bid with France ends in a disappointing fashion, Rudy Gobert now shifts his focus to the upcoming NBA season alongside the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Gobert, who averaged 13.4 points and 11.6 rebounds, stands positive about his productive campaign for Minnesota after the learning curve he grasped alongside his newest club to start their promising partnership.
“It was a lot of adjustments to make,” Gobert said. “Outside the court and on the court obviously. Joining a new organization. Joining a new fanbase. Going to a new place. Getting out my comfort zone a bit.”
“But I think it was a great year we had,” Gobert added. “We didn’t go as far as we wanted to go but we were resilient. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of things that didn’t go our way. But we kept fighting. I liked the mindset that we had. Especially in the playoffs. And we fought
In a groundbreaking move, the Timberwolves acquired the three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Gobert from the Utah Jazz last year. New team president Tim Connelly committed to this massive trade to lift the franchise as a title contender. As Connelly sacrificed the entire future assets of the team, many within the basketball circles have raised their eyebrows at the level of value the executive has dropped just to acquire the French center.
Gobert was instantly plugged into the Wolves’ starting lineup and was expected to anchor the team’s shaded area while Karl-Anthony Towns took a key adjustment of being a sniper and offensive contributor from the outside. From this, head coach Chris Finch was tasked to fulfill an enticing experiment for Minnesota, with Anthony Edwards mainly being at the front of the team’s top-scoring plan.
But injuries, chemistry issues, and several fiascos have rocked the Timberwolves’ 2022-23 season along the way. With a 42-40 record, the club settled to a Play-In entry and could still advance to the first round of the Playoffs, only to lose against the eventual champs in the Denver Nuggets.
The offseason of Minnesota saw a critical contemplation and preparation around the club and also its current core – and the 2023 FIBA World Cup served up as a rejuvenating stage for Gobert and the others to seize a refreshing play for their respective country.
As Edwards (USA), Towns (Dominican Republic), Kyle Anderson (China), and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada) represented their countries at the international basketball’s grandest stage this year, Gobert is delighted about the key purpose of the World Cup, which aids them to plan and get integrated heading to the 2023-24 season.
“I think all of us as a group coming back this year,” Gobert said. “I think that all the things we went through last year… it’s going to pay dividends this season. Half the team plays in the World Cup. I’m really happy about that, seeing guys representing their countries. And I think that the international basketball experience is truly going to help our team too.”
Ultimately, Gobert has high hopes for his upcoming year with Minnesota.
As Towns is being assumed to finally be healthy, while Edwards is projected to take a massive leap to continue reaching his superstar potential, Gobert is excited about the path of the Timberwolves this forthcoming 2023-24 in becoming a true championship-caliber team.
“I think we have the potential to be really really good,” Gobert said. “I think we’re going to have a good training camp. Build good habits. I think we have the potential to be a top two defensive team. And I don’t need to talk about how talented we are offensively. If we come in with the mindset of doing whatever it takes to have the team win and holding each other accountable while doing that, I think we’re going to have a surprisingly really good year.”