The Rudy Gobert Effect

An in-depth look Rudy Gobert has had on the Jazz's season and overall success.

Without a doubt, Rudy Gobert is the best player on the Utah Jazz. Not only defensively, but offensively, Gobert has had a much more significant impact than he is given credit for. Since Gobert's return, The Jazz have far and away been the best defensive team in the league. But Rudy's impact can't be measured off sheer stats alone. 

Because surprisingly, having a player that posses an eight-foot wingspan can be an essential asset to a team. His presence in the paint is unmatched, and his block numbers are starting to see a decrease because opponents are too scared to even enter the key. In the following chart, you can see Gobert's per game stats for the year.

A Look At The Stats And Years Past

        PPG          RPG           FG%          BPG          SPG
       13.5          10.7         62.2%           2.3          0.8

Off the bat, nothing jumps out to you. Although solid numbers, these aren't what you expect from the best player on a fifth-seeded Western Conference playoff team. However, one stat I chose not to include is defensive field goal percentage. When matched up against Rudy Gobert, opponents shoot just 45% from the field on 16 shots. This is one of the few stats that can truly display Gobert's impact on a game. Considering Rudy is almost always matched up against centers (who usually shoot somewhere between 55-60 percent from the field) lowering their percentage to below the league average is an impressive feat. Another example of Rudy's impact on the game; Since mid-January, the Jazz have owned the leagues top net rating and best defensive rating.

What happened mid-January? Oh yeah, Rudy Gobert returned to save a struggling, 4-11 Jazz team. After a disappointing offseason for Utah, it seemed they were playing for ping pong balls. However, Gobert's return and sheer presence on the court lifted them from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the most competitive. Now obviously his talents weren't enough by itself. Utah found significant contributions from guys like Ricky Rubio, who finally learned how to shoot, and Joe Ingles, who continued to play make like a guard.  

Although his stats may not say so, this was a career year for Rudy Gobert. No longer playing second fiddle to Gordon Hayward, Gobert's impact can truly be appreciated. Last year, Gobert was seen as a lengthy, defensive center. This year, you can make the argument he is a top 15 NBA player. 

Donovan Mitchell

Now in no way am I trying to discredit the efforts of Donovan Mitchell and his phenomenal performance this year. Leading not only the Jazz in scoring, but all rookies is a great accomplishment. Mitchell is likely the Jazz superstar of the future and can lead this organization to great heights. However, he does not yet have the same impact as Rudy Gobert. And the proof is in the pudding. With just Mitchell on the court, the Jazz are a lottery team struggling to win games. But with Gobert and Mitchell, they suddenly turn into a top 5 team in the Western Conference with a promising future. Donovan Mithcell has a very bright future ahead of him. But for now, there's nothing wrong with being the second best player on a great team. 

  Photo taken by rchdj10

 

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