Put Rudy Gobert anywhere on God’s green Earth, and he’ll improve the local team’s defensive rating considerably. “Long” doesn’t even begin to describe the 7’1” Gobert, who has ranked in the top five in block percentage and the top six in rebound percentage in each of the last two seasons. At 24, and coming off of an incomplete season, Gobert (9.1 PPG, 11 RPG, 2.2 BPG) is already playing at an elite level and still has room for growth. That’s great news for the Jazz, who are poised to make a serious run up the West standings.
+ He allowed the lowest field goal percentage at the rim last season (per Nylon Calculus)
+ More than 80% of his field goal attempts came from within 2 feet last year
– He missed 21 games last season, including an extended stretch due to a knee injury
– He scored just 16 points all season in post-up situations (per Synergy Sports)
While Gobert isn’t quite as nimble as other up-and-coming centers, he’s an absolute keeper: he skies for blocks, he fearlessly challenges plays at the rim regardless of the YouTube consequences, he aggressively contests and actively deters countless shots, and he can foil drives simply by sizing up a ball-handler. Thanks to the arrival of George Hill, plus a deeper and more flexible supporting cast, the Gobert-led Jazz can make a run at the NBA’s top defensive efficiency mark. With good health, Gobert should be firmly in the mix for All-Defensive Team and Defensive Player of the Year honors.