The Minnesota Timberwolves have been thriving without Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, registering a three-game winning streak in the two big men’s absence.
Gobert hasn’t played since last week due to an ankle issue, joining Towns on the sidelines – with the former No. 1 pick nursing a calf injury since the end of November.
The Timberwolves paid an exorbitant price for Gobert, sending four future first-round draft picks, Walker Kessler – who they selected with at No. 22 this year – and Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro and Jarred Vanderbilt to the Utah Jazz last summer.
But the team played below expectations in the first quarter of the 2022-23 NBA season, opening the campaign with a 10-10 record.
The Timberwolves defense ranked just outside the top 10 during that time, but the offense played at a bottom-10 level, canceling out any advantage Minnesota got through defensive stops.
Meanwhile, since Naz Reid replaced Gobert in the starting lineup for Friday’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota has outscored their opponents by 12 points per 100 possessions.
The Timberwolves have fared slightly worse on the defensive end than with Towns and Gobert.
But only the Phoenix Suns have had a better offense in the last three games.
Minnesota’s firepower showed on Sunday when the Timberwolves rolled over the Chicago Bulls to claim a 150-126 victory – registering the first 150-point game in franchise history.
And the following day, they beat Luka Doncic and his Dallas Mavericks 116-106.
The sudden form surge made NBA fans wonder whether the Timberwolves would be better off ending the Towns-Gobert experiment soon.
Some suggest trading both All-Star centers and finding the right pieces to build the team around Anthony Edwards.
Others think the Timberwolves should part ways with one of their bigs and use Reid – who went undrafted in 2019 – more often.
But many agree that Towns and Gobert don’t seem to fit well next to one another – a notion underlined by the team’s results with and without their two stars.