2 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists.
20 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist. The win.
One of these players is the considered by national writers to be the consensus All-NBA 1st team center. The other will be lucky if he’s given 3rd team when the voting is done.
It’s the same same story every season. National writers will check box scores and make podcasts about the Lakers and the Celtics. They’ll mention how good Rudy Gobert is before going on long diatribes why anyone else should get DPOY.
It’s the tell.
Even so, Rudy Gobert has a great shot at repeating as the best defensive player in the NBA. It’s a testament how good he’s been to overcome a bias that never seems to go away. Gobert has dominated the league in every defensive metric out there. He’s led the Utah Jazz to countless victories by shutting down the paint against every opponent. He’s as special a defender as has every played the game.
As much as he deserves an All-NBA nod and the DPOY, those awards won’t be the sweetest thing for Gobert and the Jazz, playoff wins will be.
I know how badly Jazz fans want these players to win these awards. Watching the team night in and night out, Jazz fans understand just how good they are. Those awards would bring a great feeling of validation for a team that is criminally ignored.
With all that said, I bet if you asked the players on the team they’d probably rather have playoff wins. And considering the way the Jazz have played this year, that’s exactly what they’ll get.
One of the coolest moments of this season was when Joe Ingles was one rebound away from a triple double and checked out of the game. There are certain players in the game that would have done everything in their power to get that triple double. To Ingles, that round number didn’t matter, only the win.
Last night Donovan Mitchell had a chance for 50 points. There were moments he could have forced it to get there. Instead of forcing shots, Mitchell made the right passes and ended up getting buckets for his teammates and ended the game with 46. To me, those 46 points are much more impressive to me than a round number in a loss.
That’s why the Jazz are ready. Team truly is everything with them and that’s why they’ll get playoff wins. Is there a chance they face an MVP in the first round? Sure. But the Jazz are ready. And don’t be surprised if they create an upset again this season. After all, it’s what they’ve done the last two playoffs.