Rudy Gobert, the French Nightmare (mine), the Gobert Report, the Stifle Tower, has led his Utah Jazz to an 11 game win streak (7th time in franchise history) that only the other elites in the NBA have enjoyed this season. The Utah Jazz are not an unlikable team, in fact, they are indeed the Moonlight film you pull for at the Oscars.
Will they pull the upset in the West? The simple answer is, No. But in a year that saw their golden boy Gordon Heyward head to Boston, who could have imagined the emergence of Rudy?
Typically, French fives have been stereotyped as slow-footed, lethargic big-men, Yes, web-slinger Donovan Mitchell, who is performing in the Dunk Contest over the All-Star Weekend, has been a shot in the arm, the Jazz have kept the melody- Gobert h has been the constant in that rotation.
Gobert’s size certainly factors into his dominance—he can touch the backboard more than 27 inches above the rim—but many 7-foot behemoths walk the earth. It’s that he cares, deeply about defense and often to the point of anger. He views each opponent who slashes into his lane as a personal affront. “Some guys don’t have pride,” he says. “I do. Sometimes too much.”
Though his PPG and RPG have decreased (12.4 PPG from 14.0 and 9.9 to 9.8), he has filled the hole that was created with the Heyward trade. His hustle and play has valuated his team within an alto sax solo of being in of gaining a seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
He’s one of the best pick and roll big men in the league. His presence opens up passing and shooting lanes because he’s such a threat. He’s a good finisher, and sets some of the best screens in the league. He gets to the line extremely well, which will be terrifying for teams if he can get his FT% to increase.
Gobert isn’t just a one-dimensional player, though. He’s become one of the league’s elite screen setters, creating countless Jazz drives to the hoop with his body.
While not a post player, he’s a threat rolling to the basket who draws perimeter defenders off the defensive three-point shooters. Offensively, he can catch and finish, sliding by with a swim move and a dunk.
He is, in a sense, like a shutdown cornerback, who might get a few interceptions but who is far more disruptive to offenses by rendering off-limits a great swath of the field—or, in Gobert’s case, the paint. Says Rudy, “I think it’s a really good analogy…Players may be going to the rim, but they’re more conscious of making adjustments to his length. That means taking harder shots.”
Celtics’ Gordon Hayward Says He’s ‘Basically 100 Percent’
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says that he is “basically” 100% eleven months removed from his gruesome 2017-208 season opening-night ankle injury, and has been playing 5-on5 games with teammates to prepare for training camp in October, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“I would say I’m basically 100 percent,” Hayward said. “There’s certain things that I think are going to take time — even if I was 100 percent healthy, I’m not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven’t played in a year.
“I’m trying to figure those things out. The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is a little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get. So that’s going to take me the longest time. But like I said, for the most part, I feel very good.”
Hayward discussed the latest milestone in his recovery, playing with his teammates again.
“It’s so much fun being able to play again, and play with my teammates,” Hayward described. “Using these past two weeks, and the next month or so, will be good to kind of get back into the game, feel the rhythm, the timing, different things like that. But it feels pretty good.”
“I think when you go through a process like this, you just find out that, if you want to get back to the player that you were, it takes a lot of effort,” said Hayward. “I think you find the fight within yourself because there’s so many days where I wake up and it’s like, ‘Man, here we go again.’ Another day I’m driving in, it’s freezing cold weather here in Boston, below zero, going into the facility, and the team’s in L.A., or they’re in Miami or whatever, and they’re playing, and I’m picking up marbles and putting them into a bucket. I’m standing on one leg and doing balance drills. I’m shooting from a chair.
“Like, all that stuff, to be able to get up and do it every day, and do it a little bit better the next day, and slowly work off getting out of the chair, and getting out of the boot, and now I can stand and shoot, and now I can do one dribble and shoot — and just the long process. I mean, it was a process and a journey. I’m still not there yet, but it just helped me find kind of a fight in me.”
Hayward is ready for the new season and expects to be on the court for the Celtics when the season tips off.
“Yeah, 100 percent I expect to be out there [on opening night],” Hayward proclaimed. “This is what this time is for me — to kind of find my groove a little bit. Like I said, you can do all the drills you want, all the cardio, the jumping [and] agility stuff. But there’s nothing like playing 5-on-5, so when I play out here with my teammates, when we get into practice situations, that’s going to be the best — playing in the preseason games, that will be the best work I can get.”
“Watching the guys last year just gave me a lot of confidence in our team and what I think we have the ability to do,” said Hayward. “I’ve been playing with some of them these last two weeks, and we have a lot of talent on this team. We have a lot of depth, and it’s going to be a fun year.”
Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward Expected to be at ‘Full Speed’ for Training Camp
“I don’t want to hype it up too much, but I’m saying that if our training camp were starting today that they would be here today going full speed,” Ainge said, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “It’s not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month, so they are sort of pacing themselves. They’re playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp (September 26).”
Hayward only played five minutes in his first season with the team before breaking his ankle during their opening night game, forcing him to miss the entire regular season and playoffs as he recovered.
Irving eventually underwent season-ending surgery in April after dealing with lingering issues in his left knee all season.
“They’ll both be here within the next week or so; by the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing 5-on-5,” Ainge said.. “I think it’s just a matter of, if they’re not playing 5-on-5 now, then it’s only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess. They’re doing everything — dunking the basketball off both legs and playing one-on-one live and jumping and cutting and defending. I’m excited for them.”
Nets, Knicks Targeting Kyrie Irving
According to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, there are already “credible rumblings” that the Knicks and Nets will pursue Irving, whose “intentions are not at all clear at this point”, should the All-Star guard hit the free agent market next July.
“There have been no firm indications from Irving or his camp that the All-Star guard is eyeing an exit from Boston next summer or that he’s angling to go to New York—as is often speculated,” Stein said.
Irving posted averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists during his first season with the Celtics.
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