Rudy Gobert, NBA MVP. Has a pretty good ring to it, right? With the way that Gobzilla has been playing this season, it really isn’t too far out of reach. Gobert continues to crack the top 10 of NBA.com’s “MVP Ladder”, this week coming in at number 7. He actually dropped a spot in the rankings from last week as he was leap-frogged by a player that wasn’t even ranked the week before. You’re kidding right?? That’s ridiculous!! How could tha- .. oh, wait, that player was Donovan Mitchell? Oh.. well okay then I guess.
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic, Giannis, and Chris Paul snagged the 1-5 spots, with Donovan and Rudy coming in right after. The fact that the Jazz have two players in the MVP running is actually pretty awesome. The fact that Rudy Gobert is one of them, is even more impressive. Jazz fans know how good Gobert is. We all know how dominant he is, especially during the regular season, and how much he means to consistently winning basketball games. The numbers don’t lie. His three DPOY awards don’t lie. Everyone and anyone that has watched the Jazz the last few years understands very well good Gobert is. Some basketball fans and media outside of the Jazz circle have slowly caught on to his greatness. Others continue to live their lives in complete ignorance, with the hopes of getting a few likes on some slanderous and distasteful twitter jokes. If you aren’t convinced that Gobert is a beast on the basketball court, you probably never will. Joe Ingles talked about this with JJ Reddick last week, and gave some pretty good insight.
Through 30 games so far this season, Rudy Gobert is playing dominant basketball. He’s averaging career highs in nearly all shooting percentages, including a seven percent jump in free-throw percentage from last season. This makes a big difference when you are near the top in free-throws attempted. Opposing teams haven’t been able to stop him, so they’ve fouled, and for the most part, Rudy has made them pay. During his impressive 23 point-21 rebound game the other night against the Hornets, Rudy shot 15-16 from the free-throw line. He was automatic.
Not only is Rudy having one of the best seasons of his career, he’s literally having one of the most impressive seasons in NBA history. He is on pace to become the first NBA player in history to average 15 points, 15 rebounds, and shoot better than 70 percent from the field. Wilt Chamberlain’s closest season came in 1966-67 when he averaged 24 points and 24 rebounds, but only (lol) shot 68 percent from the field. We are talking about one of the most dominant big men in NBA history here, and he cowers Rudy Gobert in these stats. Pretty good for someonone with no offensive game, right?
“Yeah, Rudy is good, whatever, but you’re never going to get a bucket from him when the games on the line”.
*checks notes* - well bud, he’s actually the best clutch shooter in the NBA this season, lmao.
Best clutch shooters among NBA players with at least 10 clutch games played and at least 18% usage:— dan c. (@danclayt0n) December 22, 2021
1. Rudy Gobert .803
2. Mike Conley .802
Offensively, Gobert is clearly having the best season of his life. You would maybe think that because of that, his defensive game has slipped a little, right? That would only make sense. *Extreme Dwight Schute voice*: FALSE
Rudy Gobert is holding opponents to 46.1% efficiency when challenged at the rim this season. It leads the NBA. The stingiest mark of his career.— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) December 23, 2021
On top of that, he's been a good isolation/switch defender for a few seasons now.
Questioning his impact most likely = not watching
Gobert continues to be an all-time defender, and is a two man race for his FOURTH Defensive Player of the Year award with Draymond Green. Green is currently #1 in defensive rating in the league, with Rudy right behind him.
No matter which way you look at it, Rudy Gobert is having one of the best individual seasons in the NBA this season. If you don’t agree, then you are simply choosing to not look at it. Here’s a fun excercise that I like to do. Head to Basketball Reference’s Stat Leaders page here. Click on “expand leaderboard”. There are 50 different stat leaderboards on this page, that display the top 20 in each statistic. Go ahead and use the search/find tool (Ctrl + F) and type in Rudy Gobert. Voila!! Rudy is found on 29 out of 50 individual stat leader boards. Not only is he in the top 10, he’s top three in the following categories: total rebounds, rebounds per game, defensive rebounds, blocks, blocks per game, field goal pct, eFG, True shooting percentage, free-throw attempts, win shares, off/def win shares, offensive/defensive rating, and reb %. Go ahead and try that same exercise for the other MVP candidates. The only one who has more than Rudy, is Giannis, who has 30.
Offense, defense, at home, on the road - Rudy Gobert has been so good so far this NBA season. If he can keep up this level of play, he will have a season for the record books. Not only that, but he’ll find himself with another All-Star appearance, in the MVP conversation, and hopefully a more realistic chance of being a hall-of-famer one day. I’m sure if you ask Rudy, all he cares about is winning a championship. If he keeps playing like this, and gets help from this teammates, that might just happen too.