Internal conflicts plague Minnesota Timberwolves


Image Source: The Athletic

On April 10, Rudy Gobert, star center for the Minnesota Timberwolves, punched Kyle Anderson, the Timberwolves forward, during a time-out in the second quarter. 

Before the physical altercation, Anderson initiated a verbal argument, bad-mouthing Gobert’s poor defense. Immediately after punching Anderson, Gobert was sent home by the Timberwolves. 

Shortly following the altercation, Gobert apologized for his actions in his team’s group chat, explaining that the Timberwolves were “grown men” who will “speak about it and move on.”

Still, the Timberwolves handed a one-game suspension to Gobert. This choice was controversial given that the next game, in which the Timberwolves will face the Los Angeles Lakers,  will largely impact the Timberwolves’ chances at moving onto the playoffs. 

“Not having Gobert can be detrimental to the play-in game against the Lakers,” Philip Hahm (12), varsity basketball player, said. “Gobert was an essential part of the Timberwolves’ defense as the star center and previous Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY). Gobert’s absence influenced the Timberwolves’ loss.”

Critics have also called Gobert’s potential on the team into question. Earlier in the 2022-’23 NBA season, the Timberwolves traded for Gobert, signing him to a $205 million supermax contract. Gobert’s physical altercations and lack of strong performances after arriving in Minnesota have lowered his player value. 

In addition to Gobert’s physical altercation incident, Jaden McDaniels, Timberwolves forward,  fractured his hand after punching a part of the stadium wall, fracturing his hand. 

NBA analysts have argued that McDaniels’ injury will hurt Timberwolves’ chances at the playoffs as he played a key defensive role. 

“Though McDaniels’ injury didn’t get as much attention as Gobert’s suspension, losing two players before an important game to determine play-off spots will definitely hurt the Timberwolves,” Lin Chiang (10), JV basketball player, said. “I would be surprised if team chemistry and morale is not hurt following Gobert and McDaniel’s absence.”