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The Downbeat: Rudy “Swole”bert

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Rudy Gobert lifts, bro.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert, resident BEAST
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a wild week, Jazz fans. We’ll dive into the Utah-related basketball news in a moment, but first ...

Let’s talk about a fascinating new tool introduced by Nick Sciria to examine lineup spacing.

It’s a great way to look at hypothetical lineups and see which ones (theoretically) have the best spacing ... (I’m a fan of this hypothetical lineup):

A possibly terrible, possibly amazing lineup combination

The tool can be found here.

Go mess around and share your favorite lineups, whether they’re silly, serious, crazy, or hilarious. Follow Nick on twitter, and check out his website. He consistently produces quality original content.

Speaking of hypotheticals, much has been written about Derrick Favors’ potential return to form. In March, Derrick himself mentioned he’d been playing on one leg for most of the season.

His health was a major issue this past season, which caused his efficiency to plummet to the depths of the NBA. Just last March, Zach Lowe listed Favors as one of his favorite players to watch, and said that Favors is one of the most unique big men P3 has ever seen:

The sports-science experts at P3 in Santa Barbara have told me Favors is the most explosive NBA big man they’ve ever tested — a rare mix of speed, size and force. As Favors’ masters the nuances of NBA defense, he can do even more with that raw ability. There aren’t many behemoths who can shut down a drive on the pick-and-roll, recover out to a popping big man in time to snuff an open jumper, change directions on a dime and track that big man’s foray to the basket

Read Lowe’s article here.

More Favors news, as NBA Math recently wrote an article on a potential return to form for the Utah Jazz big man.

Still only 26 years old, he has plenty of time left to convince the world he can not only reclaim his spouts of dominance, but also elevate to another level as he enters his true prime. Even getting to that former level would be a huge boon to the Jazz, as he was one of only four players to average over 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks from 2014-16. The other three? Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Pau Gasol.

According to the article (here), Favors ranked 4th in efficiency among roll men in 2015-16. Let’s hope he’s healthy and can return to his physically dominant, explosive, and athletic basketball ways.

Another player expected to surprise the NBA this season? Ricky Rubio. NBA Math wrote a piece on how a new home (and a new team) may be just what Rubio needs:

[The Jazz] averaged fewer possessions per 48 minutes last season than anyone else in the NBA. Slower offenses aren’t considered aesthetically pleasing, but they still managed to pump in 107.4 points per 100 possessions, giving them the league’s No. 12 offensive rating. And they have the potential to be even better. Utah led the league in combined “late” and “very late” shot-clock attempts, largely by design, burning through 23.9 percent of all looks with seven seconds or less on the ticker. It’s hard for an offense to make that next leap when the primary aim is clock management.

This is where the addition of Rubio should be most beneficial.

The 2016-17 Timberwolves were an average shooting team, and Rubio’s playmaking was one of the primary reasons they could even be considered that good. He finished fifth in the NBA with 9.2 assists per game, sixth in potential assists with 15.5 and sixth in points created off assists. His 15.5 potential assists per game were more than Hill and Hayward averaged last year…combined.

Read the whole article here, then go check out this piece from The Ringer:

In Europe, Rubio could get to the rim with ease, so he rarely needed to shoot from deep. In Spain and for Spain, his dazzling play was not just visually appealing, it was also productive. In the NBA, things were slightly different. It took little time for teams to figure out that Rubio could be left open and to allow him to take long-range jump shots. When he had the ball, defenders would go under screens — the universal gesture communicating a simple fact: This guy can’t shoot.

The rest of the article is well worth a read, and includes Dennis Lindsey’s recent praise of Rubio’s impact.

Some exciting news about Utah’s most buzz-worthy rookie in years:

Go. Enter. Win.

Saving the best for last, Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto are looking HUGE:

/swoon/ I love Gobert’s work ethic, and I love that he and Neto have an epic bromance.