Yes, yes. We know. The Utah Jazz really fleeced the Denver Nuggets when they traded away cash and the draft rights to Erick Green for the French bigman Rudy Gobert. Gobert, who some liken to an immobile tower, is a defensive beast. But more than that, unlike a tower that never moves, Gobert is actually more like a mythic monster that destroys any cities he visits. Gobzilla > Stifle Tower / French Rejection -- let’s stop with the provinicalism here, the nickname describes the player’s game, not where he was from. Michael Jordan is “Air” Jordan, not “North Carolina hooper”. It’s “Sir” Charles Barkley, not “Alabama fat guy”. David Lee is a bigman from St. Louis, but no one named him after that stupid Arch they have there.
Why be so limited in extolling the virtues of Rudy Gobert? Similarly, why limit your imagination of what he can be to just a defensive bigman? You’re better than that.
Rudy Gobert should be the 2016-2017 Defensive Player of the Year. It’s easy to figure that one out. Sure, Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard can switch onto ball handlers more frequently. But that’s because ball handlers go at them instead of passing off. The greatest defense there is happens when the other players don’t even challenge you, they pass the ball away and don’t even try. That’s where we are right now with Gobert.
But still, some fools gotta learn the hard way:
But it’s not just one-way traffic with Rudy. He runs the floor, cleans up all the messes, and is effectively shooting 70% from the line as a center. He had 58 double doubles, and would have had more if Quin Snyder didn’t sit him in blowouts. (Other coaches for weaker teams let their centers stay in the game when the game is already over so they can get meaningless stats - we see you Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, and Karl-Anthony Towns.)
What Gobert is right now is one of the most efficient offensive players in the league.
And he’s dunking on everyone in his way.
Rudy isn’t just satisfied with being the best Defender in the NBA. He wants to work his butt off so he can murder the other team. He wants to be the best player he can be. Period. He’s not even competing against the other bigmen in the NBA. He has no competition. He’s competing against, if anything, the NBA’s history books.
Gobert is on a Hall of Fame trajectory, and he’s already making the legends worry about their legacies.
This season he did complete the very rare 1000+ points, 1000+ rebounds, 200+ blocks group - of which Gobert was the 12th member to earn his way into that epic level. But he was just 3 assists and 1 steal away from joining an even more secretive inner-circle of greatness.
The 1000/1000/100/50/200 points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks group for bigmen only has nine members - ever. And Rudy almost barged in there this year to be it’s 10th. Who else do we find in it? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (x4), Hakeem Olajuwon (x3), Shaquille O’Neal (x2), David Robinson (x2), Tim Duncan (x2), Dwight Howard (x2), Elvin Hayes (x2), Bob McAdoo, and Bob Lanier. These are all Hall of Fame players (Dwight is still playing, but if they let T-Mac in they’ll have to let Dwight in as well).
What Rudy does is what Hall of Fame centers do. He’s not just some defensive player like Theo Ratliff or Greg Ostertag. He’s not just a really good to great defender, like Mark Eaton or Dikembe Mutombo. He’s going to be one of the best centers, ever. Period. On both sides of the court. Scoring. Making his free throws. Finding the open man, or setting a screen to make him score. Rebounds. Blocks. Steals. Everything.
Rudy Gobert is the DPOY. True. Rudy Gobert is not just going to be content with being DPOY.
To which Rudy replied:
And that’s why he’s so great.