Waaay back in June there was this thing called the 2013 NBA Draft. In it our fearless leader, GM Dennis Lindsey, traded away two first round picks to move up and snag Michigan Wolverines standout Trey Burke. Trey Burke is a prize, but the big surprise was Lindsey trading back into the first round. He did so by sending over cash and the second round pick (that would turn into Erick Green) to the Denver Nuggets -- and for what? Lindsey did this because he felt like he needed to jump on the opportunity to come out of this draft with center .
It makes sense as Gobert measured the best, gives both youth and depth inside, and already projects to be a defensive force in the league (9.7 defensive rebounds per 36.0 minutes, 15.4 total rebounds per 36.0 minutes, 2.8 blocks per 36.0 minutes, 32.7 DRB%). His length changes shots, and allows him to just get to some balls no one else in the league can. Adding muscle mass, and learning to use his body more over the successive off-seasons will be key to his improvement as a professional. I have no doubt he'll get there. The only thing he isn't getting is a lot of playing time. Rudy hasn't been injured (he did have off-season surgery to remove an ingrown toe nail), but has only played in 17 of 24 games this season. At that, he's only averaging 10.7 mpg. To add insult to injury, while he sits and sits he hasn't even been sent down to the NBA DL to get experience. In a rookie year I believe there are unlimited call ups available to a player. And you are only allowed to send guys down there during their first two years in the league. As a franchise the Utah Jazz have been bad at using their DL team. I get that. I hope that changes sometime; or, alternatively, I hope they start playing guys like Rudy.
This season the Utah Jazz are straight up getting worked on the boards. On defense the Jazz only get the defensive rebound 71.7% of the time, which is good enough to be ranked #29 out of 30 teams in the NBA. Gobert's metrics for rebounds are off the charts, where he is dominant. Sometimes not every problem has a complex solution. The case of our poor rebounding could be easily solved by giving Rudy some more time. But hey, it's not like it's my job to diagnose problems, and solve them all day long. Oh wait . . .
Anyway, Rudy's young career has just started. And to celebrate it here's a list of Utah Jazz players he already has more rebounds than: Dell Curry (well, tied), Jose Ortiz, Andy Toolson, Richard Jefferson, Rafael Araujo, Jason Hart, Jim Farmer, Rick Adelman, Erick Murdock, Bernie Fryer (yes the Ref), Pete Chilcutt, Robert Whaley, Morris Almond, Mike Harris, Aleksander Radojevic (who started a game back in the 2004 salad days), Kenny Natt, Othyus Jeffers, Andris Biedrins, Luther Wright, Keon Clark, Darryl Dawkins, Walt Bellamy, Darren Morningstar, Louis Amundson, and Tim Legler. Sure, a lot of those guys are guards, or played very few games. BUT STILL! Gobert has more boards in a Jazz jersey than Araujo and The Killer Whale. That has to count, especially for a guy who has played less than 20 games in his NBA career.
So, play Rudy more. Starting tonight, against the team we got him from, the Denver Nuggets. He's a rebounding Maestro.
Jeeze . . . I didn't even really talk about his blocks or rebound dunks yet! Play this man! He can help this team more when he's on the floor!