Rudy Gobert is still looking every bit as good as he did when he was with the Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz have to deal with a rejuvenated Rudy Gobert.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz did not need to face off with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday. The Jazz are coming in with Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn out for the game, with Jordan Clarkson and Kelly Olynyk questionable. The Jazz are 6-12, and limping through the early parts of the season with no real direction or identity. Markkanen isn't being optimized, Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy is making some really strange decisions, and guys like Clarkson are actively holding the team back.

The last thing they needed was the 13-4 Minnesota Timberwolves with their trio of centers. Karl Anthony-Towns, Rudy Gobert and Naz Reid are destroying teams, and are the second, third, and fourth-highest-scoring players on the team currently. They're all playing great, and Gobert, especially, looks like he's five years younger.

Gobert is not just scoring well when he gets his shots (58.6%), but he's once again playing near or at elite-level defense. His defensive box plus-minus is a stout +1.9 on the season, and the Timberwolves as a whole are second in the NBA in points against (Jazz are 25th). A lot of that is the Wolves finding out how to play Anthony-Towns and Gobert with one another finally, which seems to be working.

And now the Jazz have to throw their best efforts, minus their best scorer in Markkanen, against a Wolves defense that is out-right eating other teams alive. The hope that second-year big Walker Kessler can contend with the trio of bigs is mostly out the window, as it looks like he's going to be actively pressed by the T-Wolves bigs.

It doesn't help that John Collis isn't very good this year or that Omer Yurtseven isn't very nimble, because it puts Kessler in too many nasty matchups that won't favor him at all. And if we thought Kessler looked bad offensively against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, it's going to get even worse on Thursday against Gobert and the Wolves.

Lauri Markkanen is out once again, but will it matter against a short-handed Memphis Grizzlies squad?. dark. Next. Lauri Markkanen is out once again, but will it matter against a short-handed Memphis Grizzlies squad?