Look, can we just talk about Rudy Gobert forever? I'm pretty sure I could talk about Rudy Gobert forever.
The Stifle Tower tallied 15 points and 24 (!!!) rebounds in 36 minutes last night, while helping to hold Memphis' Marc Gasol to 17 points on 6-15 shooting. He was a monster. And he helped the Jazz run their post-trade-deadline record to 5-1 (oh, if only they'd held on against the Lakers!).
Of course, Rudy being Rudy, he wasn't satisfied. This was his first tweet after the game:
Yeah. Young Rud salty as enfer not to be on that list. I love it.
I love that this Jazz team as a whole isn't satisfied any more with mediocrity. And I think it comes from the top down.
Grumpy Dad Coach Quin Snyder got another technical foul tonight -- one more understated than his now-infamous "WAKE UP" tirade -- and it may have helped to keep the Jazz focused down the stretch. Utah led by just five points at the time of the T, but they opened the fourth quarter on a 21-10 run that effectively put the game on ice.
Yes, the Grizzlies were missing Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, but this might have been a loss for the Jazz earlier in the season, especially given how poorly they shot in the first half. But they hung tough, and they won going away. It's early, but this might be the new normal for the Utah Jazz.
So, Trey Kerby from The Starters on NBA TV made this chart, and it is The Best Chart. He calls it the "NBA Coaches As Dads Matrix":
Yep, that's Quin Snyder sitting pretty much unchallenged in the "Grumpy But Hip" quadrant. Kerby's description:
Strangest combo: Quin Snyder
In general, when a coach is chill, he is pretty hip and the grumpier coaches tend to be more stuck in their ways, which leads to them hanging out in the out of touch category. But Snyder has incredible hair, has the Jazz shooting a ton of threes and makes the most incredible angry faces in the league, so that's why he's kind of an outlier.
Your logic is sound, Mr. Kerby. But seriously, as I mentioned above, I think Coach Snyder has found a really nice balance between being a hard-a** and a supportive mentor. You'll notice that Snyder doesn't usually get upset at referee calls or opposing players; his wrath is almost always directed at his own team. When he gets mad, it isn't out of pure anger or frustration, and it isn't for his own sake. It's because he knows his players can do better, and he's personally invested in their improvement. I think players respond to a leader like that.
Two FanPosts for you this week. Jordan Cummings examines the Jazz's upcoming free agency options:
Moni's downbeat posed a question: how many impact free agents could the Jazz realistically be in contention for? From what I can gather, that number is likely between 5 and 10. First, let's look at the top 50 free agents for 2015 and eliminate the free agents that the Jazz have no chance of signing (or who the Jazz wouldn't want for one reason or another - age, fit with team offense, injury history, chemistry, role, etc).
And Karpasov has produced a fantastic infographic describing the Jazz's performance this season prior to and after Dec. 17, 2014. (Which was my 31st birthday, incidentally.)
It was exactly 25 years after the debut of The Simpsons, America's longest-running sitcom (and one of my all-time favorite TV shows). The Utah Jazz played in Miami - and won. However, that is not the point of this infographics. That day, as it turns out, maybe marks that definitive line between the "interim", lowly, mediocre Jazz team we have witnessed in the last three years and the new, rejuvenated, exciting team we dreamed about since the departure of Stockton and Malone. Well, statistically wise at least.
Click on through for the graphic, and for Simpsons gifs. Thanks, guys!
This practically deserves its own post, but Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated has taken an in-depth look at Dante Exum's development so far this season. The whole article is well worth your time, but this section toward the end reminded me just how much Dante has had to learn on the fly:
Those contributions allow Dante Exum to take his rookie season in stride. He's deep, at this point, in the protracted process of on-court learning in all facets of the game. At the same time, Exum is coming to terms with life as a professional, as an NBA player, and as a prospect of whom much will be expected.
"You just don't realize how mentally fatiguing it is, more than anything, just to have to be on your game every night," Exum says. "Scouting report, focusing on players because every player is different. It's a different scouting report, different way of playing different opponents every night."
It's easy to forget how young Exum is, and how little NBA-style experience he had prior to this year. Even four-year NCAA starters have difficulty adjusting to the rigors of an 82-game schedule. It must be exponentially harder for our young Aussie. I do hope he continues to show the confidence he seems to exhibit in this piece. And at the bare minimum, his defense has helped set the tone early for the Jazz during this recent run of good form. Even if he's got a long way to go.
This is not Jazz-related. But I laughed really, really hard at it.
This is Otto Porter. He is supposed to basketball. He forgot how to basketball.
Proceed to the poll below...