The Utah Jazz were a consistent playoff threat in the Western Conference over the past few seasons with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert leading the way. But it never felt like the duo worked out playing alongside each other or even enjoyed playing with each other. They were eventually split up this past offseason by the Jazz, with Gobert being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mitchell being dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Gobert's lack of involvement in the Wolves' offense is becoming a real problem
For much of their time together in Utah, there were concerns about Gobert's utilization within the Jazz's offense. Many felt like Mitchell didn't give Gobert the ball enough, which was a key reason why the pair couldn't truly work out playing together. With Gobert joining the Timberwolves, many figured he would instantly become a huge piece of their offense.
Instead, Gobert has been even less involved in the Timberwolves' offense than he was during his time with the Jazz. For the most part, Gobert's production has remained constant with his offensive play during his time in Utah, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but right off the bat, it shows that Mitchell wasn't the reason this duo didn't succeed. For what it's worth, Mitchell has been playing at an MVP level early this season with the Cavs.
The main problem is that, once again, Gobert's teammates are not passing him the ball, with the main culprit being Anthony Edwards. Edwards isn't exactly known as a pass-first player, but he's been failing to give Gobert the ball every single time they take the court together, and it's causing the Timberwolves' offense to look clunky and dysfunctional. Take a look at these telling stats from Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.
The Timberwolves need to find a way to get Gobert the ball more
As we can see here, Mitchell didn't necessarily pass the ball to Gobert a lot on a per-game basis, but Edwards has somehow managed to make it look like Mitchell was passing to Gobert on every other possession. Edwards enjoys driving to the rim for most of his scoring, which is where Gobert resides most of the time on offense, and it looks like Edwards is ignoring Gobert anytime he runs a pick-and-roll and goes to the rim himself instead.
This helps explain Gobert's awkward fit with Minnesota early on, as there are too many paint presences on offense for the Timberwolves' offense to get off the ground. Gobert is a paint anchor on both sides of the court, but right now, he's just crowding the paint because he's not getting the ball. The Timberwolves will have to figure out how to get everyone on their team into a role they are comfortable with. Otherwise, these ugly numbers could continue to stick around for the rest of the season.