It’s been a month and a half since Gordon Hayward’s free agent decision. Some of us have gotten over it already, and some haven’t. One thing was made clear Wednesday afternoon, and that is that Utah Jazz All-NBA Center Rudy Gobert is over Gordon Hayward.
Rudy Gobert sat down with HoopsHype and opened up in an intriguing Q&A session that was published Wednesday afternoon. The entire article is a must-read for Jazz fans, as Gobert discusses several topics in true Rudy fashion.
Gobert talked about the acquisition of Ricky Rubio and how it will affect his game, particularly on the offensive side of the court.
I’m very excited. He’s one of the best passers in the league and he’s a very unselfish guy. I really like the way he plays and he’s going to get you open looks. I know if I’m open or if I get good positioning under the rim, I have someone who’s going to find me.
Possibly my favorite part of this Q&A was Gobert talking about rookie Donovan Mitchell.
I didn’t know anything about him when he got drafted, but I watched him at Summer League and I was impressed. He can score – it’s clear he can score – but it was his competitiveness, the chip on his shoulder and the way he takes every match-up seriously that I really liked to see. I think he can be a really good defensive player in this league. I’m going to push him every day to try to make him [reach his full potential] on that end.
Rudy Gobert continues to prove that he is a true leader. Leaders strive to push their teammates, and demand greatness out of every single one of them. This is something that some NBA players simply do not have. Rudy Gobert seems to have the “captain” in him required to push players to be better.
When asked about his message for frustrated Jazz fans, Gobert gave a bold response.
To Jazz fans who are frustrated right now, what message do you have for them?
RG: I would tell them to stop arguing with the less-intelligent people on social media and just wait for this season to start. Just wait.
The Stifle Tower also addressed the free agency decisions of former Jazz man Gordon Hayward, and he was short, sweet, and straight to the point in his answer.
I’m over that already. It is what is. I’m focused on our team.
This was the shortest response that Gobert had to any of the questions during the Q&A. It’s safe to say that he is simply, well, over it. As much as Gordon Hayward meant to this Jazz team, Rudy Gobert has definitely eased some of that pain with his enhanced voice and leadership role this offseason.
The Jazz posted and update to the renovation progress going on at Vivint SmartHome Arena. It looks like the upgrades are coming along nicely, and all appears on schedule to be completed by this fall.
The Jazz also announced the hiring of a new head athletic trainer. They have hired Eric Waters to fill this role within the organization.
Coming off a season in which the Jazz experienced brutal injuries to several key players, perhaps a bit of a shakeup was needed in this department. Obviously there are many pieces to a healthy roster puzzle, but Waters seems like a great fit for the Jazz and brings some excellent experience.
A veteran in the athletic training field, Waters comes to the Jazz after spending 12 seasons (2004-16) as the head athletic trainer for the Washington Wizards, where was selected as the NBA’s Athletic Trainer of the Year by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) following the 2009-10 season. He has also served as an athletic trainer for the USA Men’s National Team since 2014.
Rodney Hood graced some headlines in an article published by Basketball Insiders. This piece focused on the large scoring gap left in the Jazz offense after the departures of Gordon Hayward and George Hill, and how Rodney Hood is in prime position to step up in a critical contract season.
But back to Hood. The talented wing is the mostly likely replacement for Hayward’s departed productivity, especially if the forward can duplicate the promise he showed during the 2016 season where he averaged 14.5 points and averaged 32 minutes per game in 79 appearances.
Utah lost roughly 39 points per game with the departures of Hayward and veteran guard George Hill. Rubio has shown the ability to be a nightly double-digit scorer throughout his career, but his calling card, as a point guard, is ball distribution. Rubio is a much better playmaker than the departed Hill, but nowhere near the scorer or shooter.
We all knew this was coming eventually. Gordon Hayward’s wife Robyn posted a picture on Instagram of Hayward in his new green threads.
Cringe, cry, sigh, or laugh; do whatever you need to do. We’re here for you.