The Minnesota Timberwolves made one of the biggest splashes of the 2022 NBA offseason when they traded for All-Star big man Rudy Gobert.
The trade was a clear indication that the Timberwolves are all in on their current core and no longer building for the future.
According to Charles Barkley, however, the Wolves made the wrong move. He called the Wolves “idiots” for trading for the French big man.
“They got two 7-footers out there like idiots,” Barkley said recently. “Nice trade.”
He added that he hated the trade when it was made over the summer for a number of reasons.
“I hated that trade,” he added. “They can’t play the pick-n-roll. It would’ve been fine in our day, but they can’t guard in today’s game. They’re not dominating in the paint offensively or defensively.”
Of course, Barkley is referencing the teaming up of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. While both players have the sizes of traditional centers, only Gobert is a traditional center.
Towns is far more unique and arguably the best shooting big man of all time. He’s a 52.7 percent shooter from the field and 39.6 percent shooter from deep in his career. His numbers so far this season are a bit lower at 47.3 percent and 35.4 percent, respectively, but he’s obviously got time to turn things around.
While Towns is an incredibly gifted offensive weapon, Gobert is more of a traditional defensive stopper. He’s averaging a characteristic 13.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season.
In theory, Towns and Gobert should be able make it work on the floor. However, it’s hard to deny that the team has disappointed so far this young season.
Following their loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, the Wolves are 4-4 on the season. They sit at the No. 9 seed in the West.
Though Barkley is clearly feeling confident about his conclusion on the Wolves at the moment, the team’s struggles so far could just be a case of growing pains.
The Wolves could just be getting used to new lineups and how to utilize the immense amount of talent on their roster.
At the moment, it seems a bit early to decide that the team’s decision to acquire Gobert was a bad one. If the Timberwolves remain near or below .500 on the season in a month or two, however, greater doubts will certainly start to creep in.