The Gobert Effect

Originally published December 23,2016

The Gobert Effect

Destroyer. Competitor. All-Star. Defensive Player of the Year.

These are a few of the words that have been mentioned in the same sentence with Rudy Gobert throughout the NBA season thus far. Before scoffing at the All-Star and DPOY correlations, take some time to hear this out.

With the season more than a quarter way elapsed, few players have made as big of an impact on their team as Rudy Gobert has on the Utah Jazz. After becoming one of the highest-paid international big men in the NBA this season, Gobert has proven his worth and belonging as a dominant force in the league. Gobert has been the most consistent force on a tough Utah Jazz team that is currently 18–12 while facing a barrage of injuries to key players. He has been the glue that has held his team together defensively and kept them in several games single-handedly.

Gobert is putting up career numbers, averaging a double-double with 12.4 ppg and 11.8 rpg. He has become more assertive on offense, including getting to the free-throw line and increasing his FT percentage by 21% compared to last season. Gobert has been extremely efficient offensively and defensively this season. Just take a look at some of Gobert’s league-rank of some crucial statistics:

To say Gobert is having a good season is truly an understatement. As if these ranks aren’t enough to convince you of Gobert’s greatness this season. Take a look at how he compares to big-name centers in head-to-head matchups lately:

Dec 18th vs Grizzlies (vs Marc Gasol)

Gobert: 21 pts (9–9 FG) 12 rbs, 3 blk, W

Gasol: 8 pts (4–22 FG), 3 TO

Dec 10th vs Kings (vs DeMarcus Cousins)

Gobert: 17 pts (5–6 FG, 7–8 FT), 14 reb, 6 blk, W

Cousins: 16 pts (7–22 FG), 3 TO

Nov. 28th vs Wolves (vs Karl-Anthony Towns)

Gobert: 16 pts, 17 reb, 3 blk

Towns: 18 pts (8–19 FG), 12 reb

Nov 29th vs Hawks (vs Dwight Howard)

Gobert: 10 pts, 10 reb, 5 blk

Howard: 4 pts (2–9 FG), 7 reb

Gobert has shined brightest in the biggest games, against the biggest stars he has faced so far. The Jazz have benefited from Gobert’s offensive efficiency and defensive tenacity, and rely heavily on Gobert game after game.

Right now Rudy Gobert is playing the best basketball of his life, and is catching the attention of the national media and other NBA players and coaches. He is playing as good, if not better, than any other center in the league, and deserves to be in consideration for his first All-Star invite, maybe even in conversation for the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Gobert will need to continue with these impressive performances to stay in these conversations, especially playing in a smaller market organization. If Gobert keeps this up, expect him to be an All-Star, DPOY candidate, and a growing NBA household name by the end of the season.

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