The Minnesota Timberwolves are in a tight race for one of the final spots in the Western Conference playoffs as a Play-In tournament contender, but they might have to face their next opponent without their star center Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels. The reason? One threw a punch at his own teammate Kyle Anderson during a heated exchange on the bench, and the other threw a punch at an inanimate object.
Why Did Rudy Gobert Punch Kyle Anderson During Fight on Bench?
The first incident happened as Anderson and Gobert were seen arguing about something on the sideline, when Gobert suddenly swung his fist and hit Anderson in the chest area. The two players had to be separated by their teammates and coaches before the fight escalated further. The moment was shocking, because Kyle Anderson seems like one of the most peaceful players in the league. The one time he does get in a fight, it’s with his own teammate attacking him.
Gobert was ruled out the rest of the game, and he could face a hefty suspension from the NBA for his actions. According to the league’s rules, any player who throws a punch, whether it connects or not, is usually automatically suspended for at least one game. Depending on the severity of the punch and the circumstances surrounding it, the suspension could be longer. In past situations where a player punched someone, the league has handed out suspensions ranging from three to five games.
For example, in 2019, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram were suspended for three and four games respectively for throwing punches at Chris Paul and other players during a brawl between the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Houston Rockets. In 2017, Serge Ibaka and Robin Lopez were suspended for one game each for throwing punches at each other during a scuffle between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls. More recently Mo Bamba was suspended 5 games for throwing a punch at Austin Rivers that luckily missed.
Jaden McDaniels Possibly Broke His Hand Throwing a Punch
As if things couldn’t get worse for Timberwolves, Jaden McDaniels threw a punch of his own, but it connected with a wall. After he was seen holding his hand on the bench in pain covered with towels, apparently checking to make sure it was still in tact. Rumor has it that he possibly broke his hand. It reminded many people of the Amare Stoudemire situation from all those years ago when he punched a fire extinguisher case.
Will Rudy Gobert Be Suspended for the Play-In Game?
If Gobert is suspended for any number of games, and Jaden McDaniels’ hand is broken, it would be a huge blow for the Timberwolves. During their play-in game they could be without two key players in their rotation, all from self inflicted wounds. It’s crazy to see all this happen on the last day of the season, talk about bad timing.
Will the NBA bend the rules to save the Timberwolves’ season, or will they play by the book and hand out suspensions?