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Utah Jazz notes: Rudy Gobert trying to earn his place

Published February 5, 2014 3:03 pm

Jazz notes • Rookie says D-League stints paid off, but he's in no rush to return to Bakersfield.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rudy Gobert is none too eager to get back to Bakersfield.

Two separate D-League stints there with the Jam, the Jazz's 7-foot-1 rookie center admits, pricked his pride — though he believes he'll see results in the long run.

"Once I played, I think it was a good thing for me," Gobert said Wednesday. "Even if I don't want to go back, I think it was a good thing. It helped me."

In the Development League, Gobert averaged a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double along with three blocks a game. But the rookie out of France has been able to showcase his skills on a bigger stage of late.

Gobert has logged at least 18 minutes in each of the Jazz's last three games, in part because of an injury to Derrick Favors. On Monday, he notched a career-high 31 minutes.

"It was great," he said of getting extended run. "I was feeling good. I wasn't tired."

Then he added, "I wish we would have won the game."

The 27th pick in the draft, Gobert was expected to be something of a project for the Jazz. And the rookie said he believes he's making strides toward being a regular contributor.

Gobert said he's committed himself to getting stronger, adding muscle to his lean frame. He's also worked on avoiding bad fouls. After averaging nearly 10 fouls per 48 minutes early in the season, Gobert has averaged less than six during his last seven games.

Full strength

After being short-handed the last few games, the Jazz could get some reinforcements for Friday night's game in Dallas. Both Favors and Jeremy Evans practiced with the team Wednesday and will be game-time decisions Friday.

Lineup changes

The last time the Jazz played in Dallas, a dismal first-half performance helped prompt Jazz coach Ty Corbin to change his starting lineup, benching Enes Kanter in favor of Marvin Williams and inserting a recently-healthy Trey Burke into the five.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz