Minnesota fans have been some of Rudy Gobert‘s harshest critics, but that’s going to change now that he’s a member of the Timberwolves, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. With the lifting of the league moratorium, the Wolves officially sent four players and five first-round picks to Utah in exchange for Gobert, who expressed his excitement about joining his new team at a press conference today.
The organization has received criticism for giving up so much to acquire the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and for pairing him with Karl-Anthony Towns when so many teams are downsizing. New president of basketball operations Tim Connelly dismissed those concerns, insisting that Gobert provides what the Wolves have been lacking.
“He doesn’t inhibit anything we have presently,” Connelly said. “He makes it better. He augments what we have presently. So, when we look at fit, it’s not just about talent. It’s about kind of developing the team … and he’s going to make it better.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- New head coach Will Hardy found he has “a lot of touchpoints” with the Jazz involving players and the front office, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s been great to get some feedback from them,” Hardy said, “but I also feel like I’m coming in eyes wide open and want to kind of formulate my own opinions and develop my own relationships.”
- Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren made an impact in his first Summer League game Tuesday night, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The No. 2 overall pick had 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting and registered seven rebounds, four assists and a league record six blocks in 24 minutes. “Gotta be better,” Holmgren said. “You can never really have a perfect game, but that’s what you strive for.”
- Shaedon Sharpe‘s teammates with the Trail Blazers‘ Summer League squad have been raving about his performance in practice, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Summer League will provide the first major exposure for the No. 7 overall pick, who didn’t play in college. “He’s a freak athlete,” Keon Johnson said. “He can score the ball, but he can also defend. I see why we drafted him. I feel like me and him are very similar in many different ways.”