Player In Focus: Rudy Gobert and his journey so far with the Utah Jazz | NBA Season 2020-21

Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert
Arhaan Raje

After a slow start to his career, Rudy Gobert has managed to turn things around in some fashion and is now regarded as one of the best centers in the NBA. Along with Donovan Mitchell, Gobert has now written a new chapter in the Utah Jazz's history, helping them become one of the most successful sides in the league of late.

Rudy Gobert had a career-best season in the 2016-17 campaign and has only improved since then. He helped the Jazz qualify for the post-season in the same campaign for the first time in four years and has been instrumental in helping them reach four consecutive playoff appearances in total since then.

Gobert also won two consecutive NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards during that stretch in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns. He is one of the few traditional centers left in the game, who is a terrific rebounder and defender standing at 7'1'.

Role with the Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert has established himself as a valuable part of the leadership group at Utah Jazz.
Rudy Gobert has established himself as a valuable part of the leadership group at Utah Jazz.

Rudy Gobert is considered one of the leaders on the Utah Jazz team. He is relied upon heavily to deliver on the defensive end and help the side dominate inside the paint. He has been instrumental in helping the Jazz become a title-contending side this season and has established himself as a key component in their hopes of winning a championship in the foreseeable future.

Season so far

Before starting the 2020-21 season, Rudy Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the Utah Jazz. It was the third-largest contract in NBA history and the largest ever for a big man.

The Jazz extended their partnership with the player in the hopes of him leading them to become one of the best teams in the league, and that is exactly what he has done so far.

He is averaging 14.7 points, 13.3 rebounds (second in the league) and a career-best 2.9 blocks (2nd in the league) per game for the Utah Jazz, helping them achieve their best record across the two conferences at 37-11 this season.

The Jazz are ranked first in the stacked Western Conference ahead of powerhouses like the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Rudy Gobert (R) is one of the best defensive players in the league.
Rudy Gobert (R) is one of the best defensive players in the league.

Rudy Gobert's biggest strengths are dunking, rebounding, and rim-protection. As mentioned earlier, he is one of the fiercest players in the paint and it isn't easy for players to match up to him due to his incredible 7'9' wingspan and vertical reach of 9 feet and 7 inches. In 2019, Gobert broke the single-season record for dunks with 306.

Gobert's biggest weakness is his limited offensive skill set. He is averaging 12 points per game throughout his career and is only decisive in the paint as a player who can attack the rim with great efficiency. He has never made a three-pointer in his time in the NBA and is averaging just a 62.9% clip from the free-throw line since his debut season.

Expectations from Rudy Gobert going forward

Due to a hefty contract extension with the Utah Jazz earlier this season, Rudy Gobert is expected to become one of the best players in his position. However, the biggest expectation from him is to lead the Jazz to their first-ever NBA championship win.

The Jazz are regarded as one of the most underrated teams, and so are their players, including Rudy Gobert. The two-time All-Star will be crucial to their hopes of capitalizing on their great season so far and being successful in the playoffs so that they can prove their critics wrong.

Not just this season, but Gobert is expected to lead the Jazz for years to come and help them reach the level of being one of the best sides in the league.

Also read: 5 teams that have improved the most since the All-Star break | NBA season 2020-21

Edited by Zaid Khan
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