Recent Play Makes Gobert A Strong Candidate For All-Star Selection
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Stifle Tower. The French Rejection. Gobzilla. No matter what you call him, Rudy Gobert has earned a reputation around the league as an elite rim protector.
He earned the 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year Award, was the NBA Block Champ in 2016-17 while being named to the All-NBA Second Team, and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in back-to-back years.
Despite the accolades he’s piled up in the last few years, there’s one he’s still waiting on. A trip to the NBA All-Star game.
Gobert’s numbers this season are certainly worthy of an All-Star bid. He’s averaging career highs of 14.9 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. He leads the NBA in screen assists with 6.2 per game, field goal percentage at .652, is second in contested shots with 15.6 per games, fifth in rebounds per game at 13, and is fifth in blocks per game at 2.04. He also leads a Jazz defensive unit that holds opponents to 105.0 points per game – third best in the NBA.
Diving into advanced statistics, Gobert is second in offensive rating at 132.2, fourth in defensive rating at 100.0, second in win shares at 8.0, and second in defensive win shares at 3.2.
While numbers don’t tell the whole story, fans can see the impact Gobert has with his play on the court. He alters opponents game plans and stifles opponents that drive into the lane with a goal to score. His defensive impact is known around the league, but Gobert has greatly improved as an offensive weapon for the Jazz and has become a reliable threat around the rim.
“His presence for us on the court offensively [is huge], putting pressure on the rim, he’s getting more nuanced,” said Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder.
During Utah’s five-game winning streak, much of the attention has gone to Donovan Mitchell’s offensive output, but Gobert has been key to the success of the Jazz. Over that stretch, he’s averaging 16 points, 19 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Against the Pistons and Clippers, he posted back-to-back 20 rebound games, the first player to post back-to-back games with 20+ rebounds since Karl Malone in 1988.
“[It feels] great, he’s obviously a great player,” Gobert said after Wednesday’s win over the Clippers.
“The numbers the last two games are terrific numbers,” added Snyder.
Even with these numbers, the latest returns for All-Star game fan voting have Gobert outside of the top-10 of frontcourt players notably behind DeMarcus Cousins who has yet to play this season.
Fans account for 50 percent of the vote that determines the starters for both the Eastern and Western Conference teams while a ballot sent to current NBA players and media account for 25 percent of the vote, each.
The reserves for each team are chosen by a vote from the head coaches of each team’s respective conference.
All-Star voting concludes on January 21 with the NBA All-Star Game starters being named January 24 at 5 p.m. with reserves being announced one week later on January 31 at 5 p.m. Both the starters and reserves will be revealed on TNT.
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