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NBA general managers’ poll values Rudy Gobert acquisition but not Timberwolves

Only 10% of polled general managers picked Minnesota to finish as a top four-seed in the Western Conference.

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New Minnesota Timberwolves player Rudy Gobert, center, shares a laugh with team president Tim Connelly, left, and head coach Chris Finch during an introductory news conference at the Target Center in Minneapolis on July 6, 2022.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The national hesitation regarding the Minnesota Timberwolves showed itself again Tuesday, when NBA.com’s annual preseason general manager survey was published.

While local fans and even pundits see the potential for Minnesota to make another massive leap up the Western Conference standings, maybe even into a position where the Timberwolves can earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

But only 10% of polled general managers picked Minnesota to finish as a top four-seed in the Western Conference. Those percentages aligned Minnesota with Dallas in a tie for sixth “best” team in the West, which would make the Timberwolves a team that may once again find itself in the play-in tournament come April.

And the Timberwolves didn’t receive votes in questions asking who had the best young core, who will have the most efficient offense or who is the most exciting team to watch in the NBA.

The Timberwolves finished with the fourth-most votes for most-improved team but also finished tied for the fourth-most votes among teams most difficult to predict. Optimism for this team, at least among NBA decision-makers, appears to be tepid.

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Rudy Gobert

Respect for Rudy Gobert, however, is not. At least in terms of Minnesota’s move to acquire the All-NBA center. Gobert was voted to be the offseason acquisition second most likely to make the biggest impact this season, trailing only his former Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell, who was traded to Cleveland on Sept. 1. The Gobert trade was viewed as the most surprising offseason move.

Gobert himself was voted as the third-best defensive player, with Giannis Antetokounmpo garnering the top spot. Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was voted the best interior defender by 83% of voting general managers.

The only other Timberwolves player to be named across the entire poll was Anthony Edwards. The third-year guard finished in a tie for the second-most votes for the question of the player most likely to break out this season. Edwards finished with 17% of the vote, trailing only Cleveland forward Evan Mobley.

The 21-year-old finished third in voting for most athletic player with 21% of the vote in a category won by Memphis’ Ja Morant. Minnesota did not have a player receive a single vote as the best player at any specific position.

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Timberwolves coach Chris Finch did receive some love entering his second full season. The bench boss received votes in the category of which coach makes the best in-game adjustments, and finished second in voting among coaches with the best offense, trailing only Golden State’s Steve Kerr.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
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