NBA writer Alex Kennedy published an article about Rudy Gobert today that deserves your attention!
In the article (click here to read it) Kennedy quoted a number of players and even one general manager from around the league discussing the Stifle Tower's defensive impact:
- “He is the best shot-blocker in the game,” Sacramento Kings guard Garrett Temple said. “He is the one big I worry may block my jump shot when I come off of a pick-and-roll, even if he’s playing back from me. And he changes three times as many shots as he actually blocks.”
- “You literally try to know where he is at all times when you’re around the rim because he has good timing and can cover so much ground,” Portland Trail Blazers forward Moe Harkless said. “He makes Utah’s defense really, really good.”
- “What makes him so good is that Utah’s defense funnels offenses into the paint, which seems like the opposite of what you’d want to do, but it works because Rudy covers so much ground in there,” Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “It’s not just his blocked shots either; it’s all of the shots that he alters that makes him so good. He just covers so much more area than other centers.”
- “He takes pride in not only locking down his opponent, but locking down the whole team,” former teammate and current Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker said. “His competitive nature is probably what impressed me most, especially defensively.”
- “At this point, he is the Defensive Player of the Year,” Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner said. “I’ll always vote for bigs. And he’s making better reads offensively too, like out of the pick-and-roll. His length creates problems for teams, especially disrupting the teams that thrive in the paint.”
- “I think he deserves [Defensive Player of the Year],” Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton said. “He’s definitely in the discussion. He makes it tough to score in the paint. Even the shots he doesn’t block, he alters them and forces you to miss. His wingspan seems way longer than any other centers.”
- “I believe he’s the Defensive Player of the Year, especially if they’re a top-four seed in the West,” Miami Heat center Willie Reed said. “He’s a game changer. His length combined with his high IQ changes the way teams approach the game. Everyone knows he’s a great shot-blocker, but he’s a really good pick-and-roll defender as well as a great post defender. The sky’s the limit for him.”
- “Rudy is a defensive scheme unto himself,” said one Eastern Conference general manager, who spoke under the condition of anonymity. “He makes it possible to pressure everywhere and if you get out of position, he is there to alter a shot and high point a rebound. He’s the only player one can say that about.”
Us Jazz fans who watch Rudy every night know how good he is, but it's fun to see the attention he's getting around the NBA. Gobert could be the defensive player of the year, an All-Defensive player and make his first All-NBA team. Don't be surprised if Gobzilla puts himself in the MVP conversation in future years. Rudy Gobert wants to be the best player in the world, and he has the skills to do it.
(Kennedy's story went more in-depth on Gobert defense and also looked at his offensive impact. Take the time to look at the article, it's a good read. And give Kennedy a follow on Twitter while you're at it!)
And of course, here's a tweet showing how good Rudy has been this year and some of the highlights from last night's win: