1 Crucial skill that every Timberwolves star must work on this summer

Karl Anthony-Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Karl Anthony-Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Timberwolves-Rudy Gobert: Finishing (beyond the pick-and-roll)

This might fly under the radar, but Gobert quietly had a good postseason performance, knowing he was going to be tasked with slowing down the Joker and the potent Nuggets’ offense. That’s also with the caveat of the injury to their best perimeter defender, Jalen McDaniels, and backup big man Naz Reid.

Just to piggyback on the defense part for a little, the most talked-about drop coverage of Gobert did get cooked by the terrific two-man game of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. But unlike the past few playoffs, the French big man wasn’t reluctant to adjust his role and scheme because he did variations on that end by being higher on the screens and was a roam guy in sending help towards the two-time MVP.

Not only was the defense improved, but scoring grew for Gobert as well. Thanks to his great chemistry with point guard Mike Conley in the pick-and-roll, the shot profile was optimal for opportunities at the basket. Gobert averaged 15.0 points per game, which is the best output in his playoff career. In the nine PNRs between the combo, Gobert scored each time at the rim.

And we understand that at some point, opposing teams will try to slow down this action. The question of how Gobert would remain as a scoring or even a mere roll threat without Conley now arises.

Well, the easy answer to that is that Gobert’s bag hasn’t been that deep since. You can’t ask him to score on post-ups or stretch out to hit a middy here and there, which was exposed again this postseason.

If the Timberwolves are to make some noise by next season, Gobert’s improvement opens up an avenue for Edwards and Towns to thrive more. With Kat being the perimeter-oriented big, he’ll have more open looks from deep once defenders honor Gobert’s ISO finishing.

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When teams don’t help Gobert, Edwards will have more wiggle room for drives and in his jumpers too. It will be a tough ask, but it will be necessary to turn the corner for the Timberwolves.