The year was 2007.
The very first iPhone had just been announced by Steve Jobs.
Rihanna came out with her new hit song “Umbrella”.
The first Transformers movie made its debut.
Something else super rare and super cool happened in 2007; the Utah Jazz had two players named as NBA All-Stars.
Carlos Boozer was selected as a reserve and Memhet Okur named a replacement as both got their first career All-Star nods. It was a pretty big deal back in 2007 as the Jazz were making their way to the top of the Western Conference with a surging young guard in Deron Williams. That team will always have a special place in my heart.
It’s been 13 years since then. Since that year when the Jazz sent Memo and Booz to the All-Star game, they have had just four players named as All-Stars. Boozer again in 2008, Deron Williams in 2010 and 2011, and Gordon Hayward in 2017. Being an All-Star is a pretty big deal for a Jazz player. And that’s why it makes it so awesome that this season the Jazz have a really good chance at having not just one, but two players in the All-Star game once again.
Lets be honest, Rudy Gobert should already have been an All-Star last season. Most Jazz fans (including myself) are still bitter that Rudy was snubbed last year, and it made it even worse when Rudy took the news hard himself. This year though, it’s going to make it even sweeter if he gets the nod.
Much like the last few years, Gobert has been the anchor to the Jazz this season. He’s averaging almost 15 points per game while having the second-best field goal percentage in the NBA at 67 percent. His 14.4 rebound per game ranks 3rd in the NBA, along with being in the top ten in several advanced metrics like defensive rating, ESPN’s real plus-minus and more. Being near the top in advanced metrics is kinda just Rudy’s thing.
But he means so much more to his team than just stats, which is why it’s hard for those that don’t pay attention to the Jazz to really understand his worth. It’s also why you hardly ever see highlights of Gobert come across Twitter from the main NBA channels.
7a/ Someone please verify this for me cuz I just can't believe this number.— Scottie PIPM (@ShawtyPippen) January 9, 2020
Rudy has TWO friggin posts about him all season from espn, BR, sportscenter, etc.
Yo it's hard to get me to feel sorry for Utah fans but man...
And if you're wondering what those 2 posts were: pic.twitter.com/crFHyGeAxN
Rudy deserves to be an All-Star, because he’s one of the most impactful players in the entire NBA, and he has been for years. He’s working on back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards, and is hunting that third one again this season.
Donovan Mitchell is well on his way to superstardom, and this All-Star selection is going to be the next step. Mitchell has been so good this season. He’s upped his scoring to nearly 25 points per game on 46/36/85 splits, and has straight-up taken over games against some of the biggest and brightest stars in the world.
Mitchell, to me, is an “easier” All-Star selection because he has a bigger national following due to some insane playmaking and his personality type. Mitchell has done everything for the Jazz this season, including bailing them out of a lot of close games. He’s currently ranked third in the NBA in points scored in the “clutch” (less than five minutes remaining, score within five), and is coming fresh off a game-winning shot against the Pelicans the other night.
Donovan Mitchell is everything that an All-Star should be, and he deserves to be one this season.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Due to the format of the All-Star selection process, the Jazz are probably going to need to rely on the coaches to get Gobert and Mitchell into the ASG. The starters are selected based on a composite ranking of fan vote, media vote and player vote. The second-round of fan votes were released today, and it is a little problematic to say the least.
Why is Steph Curry 4th for guards in NBA All-Star voting? Please end the fan vote. Fans collectively have no business voting for these teams.— Dominique Clare (@DomClare) January 9, 2020
Curry has played 4 games this season. pic.twitter.com/8CoraIUGup
This is why you never give a voice to the fans lol. Here’s a a list of players receiving more votes than Rudy Gobert: Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso, Tacko Fall and Derrick Rose. Luckily for us, none of these guys are actually going to be All-Stars. The media and player votes will offset this ridiculousness, and get the deserving starters into the All-Star Game. That being said, the starters are pretty much locked in. In the West, we’re most likely going to see a starting lineup of James Harden, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Nikola Jokic. I would dare say those are set in stone right now.
The reserves is where the Jazz are going to make some noise. Remember, the reserves are selected by the coaches in the following manner: two backcourt players, three frontcourt players, and two “wildcards”. So we’ve got seven spots to fit both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Let’s look at the backcourt situation first.
Backcourt (select 2): Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, CJ McCollum
Saying Donovan Mitchell is having a top-2 season out of that group is not really that big of a stretch. It does get a little more complicated now that the Oklahoma City Thunder have really picked it up and Chris Paul is doing things. But still, he really shouldn’t have more of a case than Donovan Mitchell.
Frontcourt (select 3): Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Montrezl Harrell, Kristaps Porzingis, Bojan Bogdanovic
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are pretty much locks. Karl-Anthony Towns is/was having a great season, but he’s missed a solid chunk of games recently and the Wolves have been pretty terrible. Gobert really (and I swear I said the same thing last year) has had a better season that most of these guys. But they snubbed him last year, and we just don’t really know what the coaches will do.
Wildcards (select 2)
Both Rudy and Donovan are deserving of their first All-Star selections. That is not a question. Whether or not the coaches see this is the true question. It would be really fun to see Bojan Bogdanovic somehow sneak in their as the third, maybe if he goes crazy in the next couple weeks and someone dips out due to injury, but let’s not get greedy. The Jazz deserve two All-Stars, and I hope they get them.