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Rudy Gobert is chasing legends

After receiving his second NBA All-Defense selection, Gobert joins elite Jazz company.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz - Game Six Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Rudy Gobert was named to the first-team NBA All-Defense team yesterday afternoon. This is Gobert’s second consecutive All-Defensive selection, and the Gobzilla is well on his way to his first Defensive Player of the Year award. Gobert was nearly a unanimous vote for All-Defense, but missed a couple of votes from some media members that obviously have no idea what they are doing.

Rudy joines Utah Jazz franchise legends Mark Eaton and Karl Malone as the only Jazz players to be named to the All-Defense team multiple times (Eaton 5x, Malone 4x). This is a big deal. Although Rudy has a long ways to go to catch these legends, his chase is well under way. He’s got his foot in the door after two incredible seasons as the defensive anchor of the Jazz, and is likely going to be named the Defensive Player of the Year next month. Gobert has the DNA of a franchise legend. He’s a workhorse, fan-favorite, an All-NBA talent, and he wants nothing more than to bring a championship to Utah. He’s the guy the whole team leans on. Gobert is chasing legends with his defensive prowess and ability to lead this team, and it will be fun to see where his legacy ends up.

The Jazz are in the thick of hosting NBA draft workouts and interviews, and had something odd happen during one of the events yesterday.

With each of these moments being so incredibly important for these young guys, you hate to see stuff like this happen. It’s definitely an unfortunate situation, and you have to hope that Bates-Diop is okay and can get back into the swing of workouts/interviews as soon as possible.

This last March, the younger brother of former Jazzman Kyle Korver tragically passed away due to illness. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote about how Korver has handled this tragedy while dealing with basketball, and how he and his family have coped without their brother, son, and friend.

It’s really heart-wrenching stuff. These NBA players sometimes don’t seem like they are normal people. But they have lives, just like us. They have pains and sorrows, just like everyone else does. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a little brother. I gained a lot of respect for Kyle Korver in reading this piece, and seeing how he has had success despite the terrible sorrows of losing a loved one. Stay strong, Kyle.

The Jazz were named one of Bleacher Report’s “Teams 1 piece away from contending next season”. Grant Hughes looks at Utah’s cap situation and pointing out the fact that the Jazz will have little cap space to work with if they resign some of their key players from this past season.

If the Utah Jazz retain Derrick Favors and Dante Exum in free agency, they’re unlikely to do much on the market. Like the Bucks, Utah figures to be over the cap with the full MLE at its disposal.

Moving on from Favors and Exum while cutting bait on nonguaranteed contracts for Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udo would open up some more flexibility. Even in that scenario, Utah would be looking at less than $20 million in space.

The player that they claim can fill in this piece for the Utah Jazz? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

KCP may not seem like a difference-maker, but you’ve got to consider how close the Jazz were to contention this past season. There’s no shame in a five-game loss to the 65-win Rockets—especially when Donovan Mitchell’s NBA experience could only be measured in months, not years, at the time. Utah ranked first in net rating after the All-Star break, defended at an elite level all year and should improve organically as Mitchell grows and gets more comfortable in Quin Snyder’s offense.

Adding Caldwell-Pope would be part of a larger commitment to putting the ball in Mitchell’s hands as the primary point guard. Ricky Rubio had a banner year, but for the Jazz to reach their absolute ceiling, they need more dynamic scoring and court-expanding stretch.

Caldwell-Pope is a capable defender who can handle either backcourt position. Still just 25, he also fits into Utah’s age band, which is built around Mitchell (21) and Rudy Gobert (26 on June 26). It helps that he hit 38.3 percent of his threes a year ago.

I think KCP is an intriguing idea for the Jazz. As Hughes points out, hes young, he can defend, and he wouldn’t demand the ball or take away from the Donovon Mitchell hurricane of a bucket-getter. However, I have pined for Ricky Rubio the whole season, and I still believe that he can be a long-term piece of this Utah Jazz title-contending plan they are putting together. This season will be an intersting one for the Jazz, and it will start with the decisions of Derrick Favors and Dante Exum.

The G-League put out a nice little tribute video to some NBA legends and their sons both trying to find their way in the G-League/NBA.