NBA Analyst: Rudy Gobert Climbing List Of MVP Candidates
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert snagged the eighth spot on Sekou Smith’s NBA MVP leaderboard.
Smith, a veteran NBA reporter, has Gobert moving up the list because of his “defensive dexterity and the essential nature of his role on the team’s defense.
“If coach Quin Snyder’s team has any chance of challenging in the top-heavy Western Conference this season, they’ll have to do it with defense,” wrote Smith.
According to NBA .com reporter @SekouSmithNBA Rudy Gobert is climbing the #MVP ladder.#TakeNote @kslsports https://t.co/gz2RSbZm9C
— Sam Farnsworth (@SFarnsworthKSL) January 22, 2020
This season, Gobert is averaging 14.5 rebounds per game (tied for second) and is putting up 1.9 blocks per game. Smith went on to compare Gobert to a lockdown cornerback in football – players don’t test him because of his reputation.
Smith’s Top 10:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
- LeBron James, LA Lakers
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
- Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
- James Harden, Houston Rockets
- Anthony Davis, LA Lakers
- Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
- Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
- Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
- Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
Should @rudygobert27 be an All-Star? He's got 100% support from teammate @spidadmitchell. "He's been playing out of his mind."
Hear what else Donovan said about the big fella on Hoop Streams on ESPN+. #TakeNote @KSLSports pic.twitter.com/RcqPfBUIuI
— Sam Farnsworth (@SFarnsworthKSL) January 16, 2020
Included in the list were five more potential candidates, Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, was included on that list of 15.
The Utah Jazz are in the midst of a historic run, they’ve won 12 of their last 13 games and 17 of 19 overall en route to a 30-13 record, tied for second-best in the Western Conference – and Gobert is the cornerstone of the defense.
“Defensively he’s a guy we rely on, obviously we all know that,” Mitchell told the Hoops Stream show on ESPN+. “He’s a guy that has been continuously there. The support, the backbone, vocal leader, leads by example.”
Gobert’s role on the defense is well known, but he has also been making an impact offensively. In the team’s past two games he has scored 20 or more points. His season average sits at 15.4.
For the past two seasons, Gobert has been the NBA’s defensive player of the year, but it is no secret that while defense comes first to the Jazz, the rest of the league is geared toward offense, including the MVP voters.
Rudy Gobert has been the best player on the team with the 4th best record in the NBA… Going to be hard to keep him off the All-star team this time around.
— Justin Termine (@TermineRadio) January 15, 2020
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