Jay C. Brandriet
After nine seasons as a member of the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert was traded to Minnesota Friday.
It’s bittersweet, but the winds of change have been coming.
The compensation Utah received was awesome.
Quin Snyder, Donovan Mitchell, and Rudy had led their organization to the playoffs for six straight seasons. That’s the longest current streak in the west.
The ceiling became second round losses.
This groups best moment, turned into their most disappointing.
Two seasons ago Utah had the best record in the NBA. They did some things historically well. Squad was legit.
They then went out in flames against the injured L.A. Clippers.
Rudy has to own a lot of it. That’s how it works for highly paid pro athletes.
THAT’S WHEN THE CRITICISM GOT BAD
From a national perspective, Gobert has never been Mr. popular.
He kind of became the face of “kicking off covid in the NBA.”
Shaquille O’Neal has been beating him up in the media for a couple of years.
Late in that Clippers series Jon Brown and others were talking about Gobert not getting out to shooters. Come the post season, teams want to space and pull Rudy away from the rim.
My feelings at that time were, “I’m not really buying you can blame him.” Did I believe Gobert’s style may be a better fit in 1991? Yes.
This recent first round failure versus Dallas, felt like the end.
At this point, many say he is a “liability” in the post season. Everyone thinks he’s limited.
I’ve started to accept some of these things.
I noticed something interesting in that matchup.
Luka would hit a three in the face of Bogdanovic.
Broadcaster: “Three for Dallas.”
Luka would hit a 24-footer in the face of Whiteside.
Broadcaster: “Doncic with a pretty bucket.”
Luka would drain a three in the face of Rudy, who had the best challenge yet, AND had come from further away.
Broadcaster: “LUKA, RIGHT IN THE FACE OF RUDY GOBERT.”
The narrative has SOME truth, but I think people are piling on with labels.
How much defensive help did he have?
Taller guys who lack spectacular shot making skills, don’t often get the benefit of love.
This “stiff” gains muscle, can do 360-degree dunks, and goes as hard as Westbrook.
Coach Gordon Chiesa noted, “Watch him run the floor. Watch him get back. Look at where and why he turns his head. This is a professional competitor.”
Same guy who wears the #27 to remind himself and others where he was picked in the draft.
David Locke was on NBA TV and dropped, “Let’s realize teams shoot 14 percent under league average, when Rudy Gobert is the defender within six feet of the basket.”
A three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
All-NBA First Team Defense (6x)
All-NBA Teams (4x)
NBA All-Star (3x)
Block shots title.
9th all time in win shares/per 48 minutes.
His level of success has to be pointed out.
Fans don’t see him as the lobster on a dinner plate.
He’s more like the vegetables.
NOT BAD FOR A WEAKNESS
Number 27 has a limited offensive repertoire. Nobody would argue that.
As a lob partner, he’s fantastic. Reminds me of a less flashy DeAndre Jordan.
His ability to screen and create screen assists is elite.
For his career he averages 12.4 points per game in the regular season, and 13.4 in the playoffs.
These numbers come with the second highest field goal percentage ever (65.3%).
Dikembe Mutombo recorded 9.8 ppg on 51.8%. Worked out just fine for him.
Do you know what offensive rating is? Ya, me either.
I know that Jordan is ranked 24th, Magic 6th, and Jokic is 2nd.
Rudy has the best offensive rating of all time.
IN THE END
Rudy Gobert’s time in Utah was full of kindness, charity, and basketball memories.
He leaves as, one of the best defenders the game has seen.
Proof of value? Ask the Timberwolves.
In terms of impact on winning, he’s the third best player in Jazz history.
His teams came up short of the ultimate goal.
What did Rudy Gobert get done in Utah?
He built the foundation of a Hall of Fame career.
It may take about four more years for everyone to see it.
They may not excite you a ton, but vegetables are very good for you.
Jay C. Brandriet