First off, Rudy Gobert can say whatever the hell he wants to the press, to his teammates, and to the universe itself. With what he’s doing out there on the court he has the right to be as loud as he wants. And damnit, this Utah Jazz team does need a firey vocal leader out there suiting up every night. But beyond the Jazz - a franchise with it’s own Pantheon of Greatness in John Stockton, Pistol Pete Maravich, Adrian Dantley, Karl Malone, and Mark Eaton - we see an angry star emerging in Gobert. A star whose accomplishments in this 2016-2017 season appear to truly epic.
I wrote about it earlier this month in a better researched, longer, piece that no one seems to have read.
But what is real is that Gobert is approaching 1000 points, 1000 rebounds, and 200 blocks on the season. No one in franchise history has done that. Not Karl. Not Mark. The only Jazzman who even came close was Rich Kelley (who played for both the Jazz in New Orleans and Utah and deserves more recognition in franchise history). Kelley had 1253 points, 1026 rebounds, and 166 blocks back in 1978-79. And I guess that’s the story for a lot of players out there. Getting to 200 blocks truly means you were a menace.
So where is Rudy at this season? The Gobzilla is at 987 points, 980 rebounds, and 188 blocks. He’s 13 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 blocks away with nine games left on the season. (If he plays all nine games he’ll need to average 1.44 ppg, 2.22 rpg, and 1.33 bpg to get there.)
Why is 1000 / 1000 / 200 such a big deal? Well, it’s one of the most exclusive clubs EVER for bigmen in the era where blocks were recorded. (They weren’t back when Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain played.) As a result, there have only ever been 11 instances where someone made it there (according to the data from Basketball-Reference.com that you can check here).
The list is as follows:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (HOF): 20 seasons, did it 4 times
- Shaquille O’Neal (HOF): 21 seasons, did it 3 times
- Hakeem Olajuwon (HOF): 18 seasons, did it 3 times
- Tim Duncan (HOF to be): 19 seasons, did it 2 times
- Elvin Hayes (HOF): 16 seasons, did it 2 times
- Dwight Howard (prob HOF): 13 seasons, did it 2 times (current: 874 / 846 / 82)
- David Robinson (HOF): 14 seasons, did it 2 times
- Artis Gilmore (HOF): 17 seasons, did it 1 time
- Bob Lanier (HOF): 14 seasons, did it 1 time
- Bob McAdoo (HOF): 14 seasons, did it 1 time
- Dikembe Mutombo (HOF): 18 seasons, did it 1 time
If Rudy Gobert does it this year, and climbs that 1000 / 1000 / 200 mountain of the Gods, he will have done it one time, needing just four seasons to scale that peak. The 11 players who did it before him (for a grand total of 22 times for all time in the history of all centers in the NBA ever) had long careers, and were legends. And even these legends only managed to do it (usually) once or twice ever in their careers. The only guys who have done it more than twice are first-namers like Kareem, Shaq, and Hakeem.
I don’t know what Rudy’s career is going to end up being like. And I don’t know if he’s going to play in each of these remaining nine games. But if he does suit up and plays normal minutes it’s very likely that he’s going to reach this elite level that only 11 other players have EVER reached before.
And with how he’s playing right now, who knows what he can achieve?
Over the last 10 games the Utah Jazz are 6-4. That’s not great - losing three in a row to questionable Eastern conference talent, and dropping one to the Clippers sucks. But what doesn’t suck has been Rudy’s efforts on both ends of the court.
Over the last 10 games Gobert has averaged 18.70 ppg, 14.10 rpg, 3.20 bpg, 2.30 apg, 0.70 spg, and is shooting a very tidy 73.08% from the floor and 60.34% from the stripe. He has a positive +/- (duh), and is way ahead in steals and blocks against fouls, and in assists over turn overs.
With his average efforts over the last little while he could surpass 1000 points and rebounds in one game from now. (Seriously, a 13 point, 20 rebound effort isn’t out of the picture.) He’s blocking enough right now to get it done as well, but the 12 blocks in 9 games thing could be jobbed by the refs a little. I hope they know not to get in his way.
Rudy Gobert is playing better than every center in the NBA right now. He should be the Defensive Player of the Year this year. He should be an All-NBA player. And he should reach immortality in the NBA History books this year with a 1000 / 1000 / 200 year.