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Jazz Rudy Gobert has some competition to be the best center in Utah Jazz hisory - The Downbeat #1576

It's a great time to be a Jazz fan, March Madness, the greatest center in Jazz history, and Zach Lowe's 2015 team!

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Sorry this is so late, I have no idea what is going on anymore. Really.

The Utah Jazz are rolling, having won six straight games. They have beaten the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets on the road, and the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Charlotte Hornets at home. How rare is a 6 game win streak in this era of Jazz basketball? Well, the team won five straight games back in March/April of 2013 (PHI, PHX, @POR, BKN, POR), and won five straight games back to start the 2012 Lockout shortened year (NOP, MIL, MEM, @GSW, CLE), but six games? The last time that happened was during our #PlayoffPush (Patent Pending) three years ago in the March of 2012 (MIN, GSW, @LAL, OKC, @SAC, and DEN).

The previous streaks were because of (mainly) offense. What makes this team dangerous is their defense. Their defense, and well, other things. As the NBA puts it:

The Utah Jazz add:

Yes Sir, it's a good time to be a Utah Jazz fan right now.



It's also a good time to be a video game playing Utah Jazz fan! The people who cultivate and maintain the games now know that the Jazz don't suck. And they continue to update the games to reflect reality! (What a concept!)

Gobzilla is now a beast with an 81 overall rating. When the game was first released last fall he had an overall rating of 71. He's a near sure thing near the basket on offense, but his rebounding, defense, and athleticism have all gone up. So have most of the main guys on the Jazz right now. The big media outlets are talking about the Jazz. The stat geeks love our players. And now even all the way to pop culture (video games) we are seeing the love.



March Madness is upon us. If I wasn't so side tracked today I would have had my pieces out on that already. Oh well, keep waiting folks. I've cut my teeth as a "draft guy" after being a "stats guy", and while our team isn't perfect yet -- we still have at least one good pick coming up in this lotto.

Seeing what we have seen so far from this team during this stretch I have this one question: "What's missing?"

If you were drafting for need, where do we still have a need? Bench scoring? Bench defense? Another bigman? A legit stretch big? More shooting from the wing? More shooting from the point? More Australians?

Maybe not.

Personally, I think a wait and see approach is needed. For all the potential for discovery, this season was spent more on development (and injuries). Without Alec Burks I did expect to see more Trey Burke and Dante Exum on the court at the same time. Perhaps the lack of a legit 3rd string PG who could bump up to 2nd string (no Toure' Murry, or Ian Clark, or Bryce Cotton would do) prevented this from happening, I presume.

For example, the Dante+Trey back court has played together for only 294 total minutes this year, over 45 games, in a 66 game season. On paper you figure they should work with Quin Snyder's playbook. Maybe we see more of this next season in a more crowded backcourt? I dunno. I just write about the team, I don't coach it.



Greatest Utah Jazz center of All-time? Kendrick Perkins?



Grantland's Zach Lowe just dropped the 2015 Marc Gasol All-Stars. Making it this season?

The bench players are:

On Rudy he had this to say:The linchpin of the NBA's stingiest defense since the All-Star break is coming to knock down your buildings, eat your children, and steal your city's food supply. I've delved into the Stifle Tower before, and you all know that opponents are shooting just 39 percent on shots near the basket when Gobert is around — the lowest mark among all rotation bigs.

Watching Utah try to squeeze out points with the Gobert - Derrick Favors big-man combo is one of the next great NBA adventures. The outcome will eventually determine the ceiling of this rising Jazz team. Utah has scored at a bottom-10 rate with that duo on the floor, and they've been even worse than that since dealing Enes Kanter.

Gobert and Favors are both at their best diving to the rim, and that doesn't figure to change even as they each stretch their skill set. There are possessions in every Utah game when they collide in the paint.

But other such big-man combos have made it work. Both Gobert and Favors are comfortable facilitating from the elbow, and Favors has honed his midrange jumper and post game. Utah's recent success with Rodney Hood in the starting lineup could hint at what might come if Utah can put enough playmakers on the floor with Gobert and Favors. Remember: Alec Burks will be back next season.

Gobert is a skilled passer on the move, and he has accepted the fact that he's not going to touch the ball on offense much. Trey Burke passes to Gobert on only 8.8 percent of the pick-and-rolls they run together, one of the lowest figures in the league, according to SportVU data provided to Grantland. Gordon Hayward, by far Utah's best offensive player, hits Gobert only about 13 percent of the time.

In the mold of Tyson Chandler, Gobert is a selfless space-sucker, and he appears OK with that. But when he does get the ball, he's winding up to dunk from about a foot over the rim, and he wants to hurt you. Gobert has worked his way into the conversations about defensive player of the year, most improved player, and sixth man of the year.

- Zach Lowe, Grandland, 2015

It's all true, and it's an entertaining read. Check out the full article here.