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Rudy Gobert and Antigravity - The Downbeat #1837

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

As you're well aware, the Jazz managed to squeak by the Nuggets last night. After the game, Derrick Favors lamented his "terrible" shooting night to Aaron Falk of the SL Tribune:

"Man," Favors said later. "My shot was terrible tonight."

Though he managed to shoot 50%, what has been almost automatic this season, was "terrible" last night.

Except when it counted:

Favors Shots

In yesterday's Downbeat, Amar posted a picture of a young Rudy, which was tweeted as part of an upcoming story for Sports Illustrated magazine. To go with it, this article was released yesterday on SI.com: 

Standing tall: Rudy Gobert altering shots, perceptions of French players

Go check it out, because it is awesome. Especially this:

He views each opponent who slashes into his lane as a personal affront. "Some guys don’t have pride," he says. "I do. Sometimes too much."

Also:

James Harden? "I blocked him. Blocked the s--- out of him."

Russell Westbrook? "That’s the guy I have the most blocks against! He doesn’t care. He’ll just keep coming at you."

SI.com is very Jazzy this week. A couple of days ago, the consistently underrated Ben Golliver dropped this article on our beloved Rodney Hood:

Rodney Hood outshining peers as he models game off another crafty lefty

The article follow some of the ways that Hood has managed to be a successful scorer in the NBA. Much like Zach Lowe has pointed out, Hood has developed into a very good pick and roll playmaker -- whether through crafty passes in the paint, or by using hesitations to get himself those 5 ft bunnies he has become so good at.

How many times has the debate about the Jazz's lack of a star been raised? It's come up as an excuse and a critique. But the larger question that must be answered is a philosophical one -- What makes a "star"? Who determines? How much of it is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy? Is it only the ability to score at high numbers and with high efficiency?

The question is: Can Rudy Gobert be that star? So much is given to the offensive powerhouse in the NBA. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook are amazing on one end of the court, and acceptable to good on defense. But can it go the opposite direction? Can a player be so utterly game changing on defense, but be just acceptable on offense and still be considered a star?

One of the favorite new ways to describe a player, outside of traditional stats, is the "gravity" score. Kevin Pelton and Zach Lowe are acolytes of it. Can a player be such a deterrent to high percentage shots as to be given an "antigravity" score? Rudy would certainly be that player.

Can Rudy be the type of player that forces the development of new analytics?

If you've been following ESPN's completely arbitrary and basically pointless NBA All-Time Rank, they are dropping 16-20 today. Coming in at #19: