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The French pivot Rudy Gobert shone for his first in the jersey of Minnesota, contributing largely to the success of the “Wolves” against Oklahoma City (115-108), during the NBA matches played on Wednesday October 19. After the first two games opening the season the day before, 24 teams entered the scene, including the new formation of “Gobzilla”.
On the floor of Minneapolis, against the Thunder, the triple best defender in the league achieved a double-double, with 23 points and 16 rebounds. After making a hot start (35-22 at the end of the first quarter), Minnesota was however scared in the third (87-87), before widening the gap again in the decisive moments. ” It feels good to feel already dubbed by the public “Reacted Gobert after the meeting.
« The timing was perfect for me to end up in Minnesota “, confided Rudy Gobert, who begins a new adventure in the NBA after nine years in Utah, within a team of talented Timberwolves “ who can play the title ».
At the start of the summer, the Frenchman did not expect to be transferred to Minnesota. ” Leaving Jazz wasn’t a big surprise either. I knew that the leaders were going to have to make certain decisions. But, all the same, I had spent nine years there, I only knew Utah… But when I learned that it was a possibility to find myself at the Timberwolves, there were a lot of excitement, because I quickly realized that we could be an incredible team “, he admits.
The Minneapolis franchise paid dearly to afford the 30-year-old interior, which it sees as the player capable of taking it to the next level ($170 million over the next four seasons). Last season the Timberwolves, whose best run ended in the Western Conference finals in 2004, returned to the play-offs after four years of absence.
« I’m the most experienced, the oldest in the group »
For Rudy Gobert, with Minnesota, the ambition is to go as high as possible, to play for the title. ” We have the talent to achieve this. We have a lot of work to do. You have to know how to build a team that plays for the title, that’s the hardest thing to accomplish in this league. That’s what I was recruited for. And I’m going to do my best to take her where I think she can go. And he feels like a leader. “ I’m the most experienced, the oldest in the group (with Austin Rivers, who is also 30 years old, editor’s note), advances Rudy Gobert. I have lived and, despite everything, my best years still ahead of me. It’s a team that is young, that will grow in strength and that I think can achieve incredible things. If not now, at least in the very near future. The timing was ideal for me to find myself in Minnesota. »
With nine players involved, France provides the third largest contingent of foreign basketball players this season in the NBA, behind Canada (23 players) and Australia (10 players). The “Frenchies” who started the season with a guaranteed contract are six in number: Rudy Gobert in Minnesota, Nicolas Batum at the Clippers, Evan Fournier in New York, Frank Ntilikina in Dallas, Killian Hayes in Detroit and Ousmane Dieng in Oklahoma City.