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Innovative Coach Aids Rudy Gobert in Converting Critics

Rudy Gobert anticipates what lies ahead. He is poised to secure his fourth NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, having been the standout defensive player on the top-ranked defensive team all season. Despite this, he is aware that his critics will still doubt him if he fails to make an impact in the playoffs.

Gobert’s journey in the NBA is a tale of growth and development. From being the 27th pick in the draft and starting in the D-League to becoming a defensive phenomenon, he has faced skepticism over his offensive abilities. As the playoffs begin, the scrutiny on Gobert will intensify as the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Phoenix Suns, a team that poses challenges for Gobert’s style of play.

Four years ago, Gobert embarked on a mission to refine his skills. Collaborating with a Brazilian coach specializing in neuroscience and cognitive development, he has honed his offensive arsenal, giving his team a new dimension heading into the playoffs.

His work with the coach has resulted in improved shooting efficiency, scoring through contact, and enhanced decision-making abilities. As his teammates rally around him, Gobert aims to prove his detractors wrong and lead the Wolves to playoff success.

In the midst of the playoffs, Gobert’s partnership with his coach faces its toughest challenge yet. The success of the Timberwolves hinges on Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns exploiting the Suns’ small-ball lineup. This is the moment they have been preparing for.


The coach, Fernando Pereira, hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with a background in basketball and a keen interest in neuroscience. Observing players like Nikola Jokić and Luka Dončić, he saw the vital role of the brain in optimizing athletic performance. Pereira’s innovative training methods focus on improving coordination, anticipation, and decision-making, revolutionizing player development.

Pereira’s unconventional approach was met with skepticism in the coaching community, but his impact on players like Gobert has been transformative. Through targeted drills and sensory overload exercises, players learn to adapt quickly in dynamic game situations, enhancing their on-court performance.

Gobert’s willingness to embrace Pereira’s methods has led to significant improvements in his game. By sharpening his decision-making and versatility, Gobert has evolved into a more well-rounded player, ready to face the challenges of postseason play.

This collaborative effort between Gobert and Pereira has set the stage for a pivotal playoff series, where Gobert’s offensive growth will be put to the test against the Suns’ formidable defense.


Following his trade to the Timberwolves, Gobert has embraced a new role that emphasizes his untapped offensive potential. Despite setbacks in his first season, Gobert has worked tirelessly to expand his offensive repertoire under the guidance of Coach Chris Finch and Assistant Kevin Hanson.

Improvements in Gobert’s scoring efficiency, decision-making, and scoring versatility have been evident this season. By adapting to a more diverse offensive role, Gobert has become a crucial asset for the Timberwolves, providing a reliable option against opposing defenses.

As the playoffs unfold, Gobert’s ability to capitalize on mismatches and contribute offensively will be critical for the Wolves’ success. His progress in creating scoring opportunities through improved ball-handling and decision-making sets the stage for a compelling postseason run.

With the support of his teammates and coaches, Gobert aims to lead the Timberwolves to playoff glory, showcasing the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration with Pereira.


As Gobert enters the postseason striving for his first conference final appearance, the stakes are high. With a revamped offensive skill set and a determined mindset, he is poised to make a deep playoff run alongside his talented teammates.

Embracing his journey of growth and evolution, Gobert recognizes the importance of unlocking his full potential with the help of Pereira. As they face the challenge of postseason competition, their partnership stands as a testament to perseverance and innovation in player development.

This playoff series against the Suns represents a defining moment in Gobert’s career, where his offensive progression will be put to the ultimate test. With a renewed focus on embracing challenges and pushing boundaries, Gobert is ready to lead the Wolves to postseason success.

(Illustration: Dan Goldfarb / The Athletic; photo courtesy of Fernando Pereira)

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