Having already detailed how infrequently Utah Jazz players make this exhibition game, I must say that while history was not kind -- recently younger Utah Jazz players have been making this game. was picked with the 14th of 16 picks by Charles Barkley back in 2012. was also added to that team as an injured replacement for Tiago Splitter. Two seasons later, Trey Burke made the team, and was selected #8 by Chris Webber. While the jury is still out on sophomore season I think it's clear that should make it this season.
This is not just a case of recency bias either; yes, Rudy Gobert is averaging 10.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.2 spg, and 4.2 bpg in 31.0 mpg this month. (Thought that doesn't hurt.) Rudy has been playing great this season and should even collect a few Most Improved Player votes this season (if there are any left over afterhas his fill.) And compared to the bigmen crop that is eligible for this game -- it's clear he should be among them.
Over the last few seasons, in the Team TNT Retired Player era, 9, 7, and 7 bigmen have been selected to participate. And really, you need to be one of the top 3 bigs on your team if you want to even get ANY playing time.
With how Rudy Gobert is playing right now, I honestly think that he should be one of those players., , , , , and are all nice players. But right now the only guy who seems to eclipse a role would be Rudy. Gobert is an impact player right now.
For the season he is 4th out of all the qualifying Rooks and Sophs in RPG, and 1st in BPG. And with more playing time he is climbing upwards on all fronts. And out of all of these big galoots, one thing you must take a keen interest in is that Rudy plays defense without fouling. Dude. So what he doesn't take a lot of shots, he is the most effective offensive player near the rim, AND he defends the heck out of it on the other end.
Paired up with the right point guard in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars challenge he could actually make a huge impact on both sides of the floor. I am getting ahead of myself. He has to be selected still, and that doesn't happen for a number of weeks.
But one thing is obvious at this stage -- Rudy has to be a part of this event. He deserves it. And will dominate all the other young bigmen who are eligible for this game.
All hail Gobert!