As of tomorrow morning, the 2020 NBA All-Star break is officially over for the Utah Jazz. It’s back to business. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are fresh off their first appearances in the All-Star game, and is was awesome to see them be apart of the game and other festivities over the weekend. The dual All-Star selections is a huge highlight from the 2019-20 season for the Utah Jazz. Regardless of where the season ends, the fact that both Rudy and Donovan were named All-Stars is a really awesome accomplishment that all Jazz fans should be very pleased with. But both Rudy and Donovan will be the first ones to tell you that there’s so much more that they want to accomplish this season.
Donovan Mitchell, on he and Rudy vs. Stockton and Malone: “(The ASG) isn’t the end-all. We have bigger goals in mind. But for right now, we can do something that that hasn’t been done much since the dynamic duo. We’ve got a long way to go to live up to their legacy.” pic.twitter.com/tyfMQkguXl— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) February 15, 2020
Rudy Gobert, on being called an MVP candidate by Bogey and an All-Star by Donovan: “For me, winning the No. 1 thing. How can I help my team win? I mean, DPOY is great — it’s an award, it’s hardware, it’s great for your legacy; MVP, too. ... Winning a championship beats all that.” pic.twitter.com/TjWgtTo70G— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) January 26, 2020
That being said, now that the All-Star monkey is off their backs, where will Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz go from here?
Tavan Parker highlighted the upcoming schedule and remaining portion of the season in an awesome article the other day.
But more specifically, how will Rudy and Donovan perform after their All-Star break?
Rudy Gobert is priming up to make another DPOY run. He has been a whole new level of an anchor to the Jazz this season, coming up huge defensively in countless games, especially in the final minutes. He’s on pace to finish with a career-high in field goal percentage, rebounds per game, and extremely close to getting there for points per game as well.
Rudy Gobert is second in total blocks, first in rebounds, first in defensive rebounds and first in offensive rebounds in clutch time (defined by the NBA as the final five minutes of games within five).— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) February 19, 2020
Let's update this...— Ben Dowsett (@Ben_Dowsett) February 20, 2020
Per tracking data via a source, Rudy Gobert has been switched onto a guard in isolation on 117 possessions since the start of 18-19.
Opponents have scored 0.748 points per chance, one of the 5 lowest figures among volume minute centers in the NBA.
Rudy. Is. Balling. Out. Of. His. Mind.
If he can somehow elevate his game even more, and say the Jazz go on a huge winning streak and end up as the two seed, there’s a legitimate chance he gets some MVP votes at the end of the season.I don’t know how realistic it is to expect anything more from Rudy Gobert than what we’ve been getting (because it’s A LOT), but there’s a chance. Rudy always finds ways to get better, so maybe we will be pleasantly surprised.
With Donovan Mitchell, I believe the story is a bit different. I think Donovan Mitchell has his best basketball yet to be played this season. It’s been a bit of an up-and-down year for Mitchell, although the ride as a overall unit has been pretty awesome, hence the All-Star appearance. He’s coming off kindof a weird stretch of games lately where he played some of the worst basketball of the season prior to the All-Star break. You could tell from watching him play that they just wanted to make it to the break, which is a pretty common thing among NBA players the week of the ASB. With that all behind him, I think Spida explodes in the remaining games for the Jazz this season.
I said about two months ago that I truly believed Donovan Mitchell contained the keys to unlocking the true potential of the Utah Jazz, and I stand by that. If he can play the best basketball of his career in the next few months, the Jazz will contend for a championship. It seems strange to still be relying on a 23-year-old to lead you to glory, especially when you consider the fact that Rudy Gobert is playing on an MVP level and Bojan Bogdanovic has been one of the best supporting role players in the NBA this season. But even with that, Donovan Mitchell will decide the fate of the Utah Jazz this season, and beyond.