The Utah Jazz will face a struggling Lakers team tonight in LA who is desperate for wins. As underwhelming as the Lakers have been, the Jazz have been just as frustrating in the games they played while Rudy Gobert was in covid protocols. Surprising zero Jazz fans, Gobert’s return changed the team. It’s why Jazz fans try to tell everyone from every rooftop, that Rudy Gobert is one of the most impactful players in the game. Whether it’s his DPOY defense or his sun-like gravity on offense, Gobert makes everyone on the Jazz better.
Donovan Mitchell also looked like a different player against the Nuggets last night. It makes sense that not having Gobert makes things more difficult because he’s spent so much time honing his skillset around the pick and roll with him. One of the more interesting things from the games without Gobert was how bad the Jazz were on both sides of the floor when they didn’t have a rim-protecting, rolling big. It would be nice to see some different lineups for Utah have some success, but this far in the season, that might not be something you can expect anymore. Whatever the case, Utah needs to show they’re a better team than the Lakers tonight to not only solidify playoff position but also prove it to themselves.