The Utah Jazz changed once Rudy Gobert stepped onto the floor. Just like all other dominant players, he changed the game around him, as well as what everyone else was doing on the court. Players would actively avoid driving to the rim to avoid his incredible length. But Gobert wasn’t just tall and long, he was athletic too. His ability to make that second jump with lightning quickness allowed him to contest multiple shots on single possessions. When you combined that with his competitiveness, it’s no surprise he’s won 3 DPOY awards. It really should be 4, although there’s no question he’ll earn another in Minnesota.
Gobert is an immediate fan favorite for those who are lucky enough to have him on their team. His rookie year you saw glimpses of what he would eventually become with his dominant rim protection. It was apparent the moment he was on the floor and you could see opponents immediately change how they played once they saw the Stifle Tower on the floor. His second season he started getting regular minutes under Quin Snyder and once Enes Kanter was traded, opening up the starting center role for Gobert, the Jazz were perennial playoff contenders.
And that’s what the Minnesota Timberwolves are getting: A dominant, game-changing player that will raise their floor to a perennial contender. He’ll make life easier on Towns defensively while also creating space for Edwards with his gravity. But beyond that, he’s also an incredible person. Gobert is known all around the Salt Lake Valley for the help he’s provided to countless people. I know personally the work he’s done for a charity I work with providing shoes for kids and Gobert’s personal donations. Gobert is truly a gem of a person, something you’re reminded of his eclectic interest in the crystals he wears around his neck to games. Minnesota fans will fall in love with him soon.
Here at SLC Dunk, we want to spend time writing about our favorite moments and stories of Gobert and I tried below to talk about what he’s meant for me, how he changed the Jazz, and also what he did for me as a fan.