Karl-Anthony Towns & Rudy Gobert working together? The wolves will soon find out

Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert played in just 32 games last season.

NBA basketball returns on October 24. We’re counting down the days like seconds on a shot clock — I mean, that’s what we do. Starting Oct. 1, our writers will list 24 storylines for the 2023-24 NBA season.

A new storyline drops every day. Here it is No. 13:

The Timberwolves should know by the offseason if the Rudy Gobert-Karl-Anthony Towns experiment is working or not.

This is not a patient league. A complete NBA cycle — from the draft, through a season, to the preseason, followed by the regular season and playoffs — can feel a lifetime of stability while 29 other organizations cycle through countless changes. „If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse” doesn’t allow for a lot of thought and reflection on a personnel move made two or three years ago. One year doesn’t qualify as a small sample size, not in the NBA.

A half season? That would have been enough to rate Minnesota’s giant experiment in 2022-23 — or, in Starbucks terms, Wendy – Linking Gobert with Towns for a new millennium „twin towers” approach. But the talented couple, noAbsolutelyredundant Big ones Only registered 32 Games together from start to finish Due to an injury to Downs’ mother calf.

The Wolves went 16-16 in regular season, AT&T Play-In Tournament and playoff games combined. They outscored teams by 0.4 points per 100 possessions Both on the ground In the first 27 compared to a minus-7.6 net in the five-game elimination against Denver.

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Allowing him to acclimate to a new team, Gobert looked like his old self with near-career average stats (with a dip in blocks) and familiar rim protection. Downs has adjusted his game so much from deep that last season, only one-fifth came within three feet, compared to one-third in his first seven seasons. His 3-point percentage (36.6%) fell to his lowest rate since his rookie season. Also, post-injury and 28-year-old Gobert remains to be seen if he has the quickness needed to defend off the floor while keeping his and the other Wolves’ backs inside.

There were already rumblings that GM Tim Connelly might shop Downs as part of a move to turn Minnesota’s keys to Anthony Edwards this summer. It would be naïve to think that the Wolves could come to the February trade deadline with a Downs-Gobert gamble saying to their fans, “Well, we’re still evaluating…”

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Steve Ashburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, find his archive here and Follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Warner Bros. Discovery.

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