Monday, 15 Jul 2024

Q&A: Rudy Gobert discusses Wolves’ welcome, Victor Wembanyama, and more

LOS ANGELES – Technically, Rudy Gobert hasn’t even played a full game yet with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ core players to determine their potential. But based on training camp vibes and the team’s scouting reports, Gobert is optimistic the Timberwolves can achieve something remarkable – a feat he couldn’t accomplish during his nine seasons with the Utah Jazz.

“Our goal obviously is to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference, get to the Finals, and play for a championship,” Gobert said following the Timberwolves’ 119-117 preseason win against the LA Clippers on Sunday at Crypto.com Arena.

Gobert is excited to partner with Karl-Anthony Towns and make their preseason debut as teammates when the Timberwolves face the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with NBA.com, Gobert shed light on his training camp experience, the potential of the Timberwolves this season, and his mentorship of French prospect Victor Wembanyama.

NBA.com: How has training camp gone so far?

It’s been an incredible experience joining a new group and organization. There’s a lot for me to process, but I’m doing my best. So far, it’s been great.

You’ve mentioned the organization has made you feel welcome. How so?

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Every person in the organization has shown me tremendous support and love. They made me feel at home. I’m just being myself and leading by example for the young guys.

How are you feeling physically?

I feel good. EuroBasket was a tough competition, and I practiced almost every day with the team to build chemistry. Now I have a few days to recover and prepare for the season.

Once you start playing with Towns, what do you think the chemistry will be?

It’s going to be exciting. We both have a deep understanding of the game and know how to make each other better on both ends of the court. We’ll be learning and growing together every day.

What’s your expectation for the integration process with KAT, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell?

Every night will be an opportunity for us to improve. Basketball is not about perfection, but if we play for each other and compete together, we’ll get better. Our goal is to become one of the best teams in the Western Conference, reach the Finals, and compete for a championship.

What will it take to reach that goal?

It will require dedication and hard work from every person in the locker room. The season is a grind, but with the right mindset and a commitment to improve, we’ll be in good shape when the playoffs arrive.

What has it been like mentoring Victor Wembanyama?

It’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve known Victor since he was 13 years old. He’s a great kid with a wise mindset. His passion for the game and his work ethic are remarkable. It’s been incredible to watch him grow and develop.

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When did you realize he would be a special player?

The first time I saw him play, I knew he had something special. Over the past few days, it’s become clear to everyone that he’ll be an exceptional talent. His mindset is what sets him apart. He has all the tools, but his mentality is the most important.

What was it like standing next to someone taller than you in Las Vegas?

It doesn’t happen often (laughs). It was a great experience. I’m used to being the tallest, so it’s unusual for me. I’ve seen Boban [Marjanović] and Tacko [Fall] a few times, and it makes me feel like a regular person.

In conclusion, Rudy Gobert is eager to make an impact with the Timberwolves and believes in their potential for the upcoming season. His partnership with Karl-Anthony Towns is set to be an exciting one, and he is passionate about mentoring French prospect Victor Wembanyama. With dedication, hard work, and a focus on continuous improvement, Gobert believes the Timberwolves have what it takes to become one of the top teams in the Western Conference.