Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert slaps the ball away from Miami Heat guard Myck Kabongo, right, during the second half of an NBA Orlando Pro Summer League game in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 7, 2013. (Special to the Tribune/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Utah Jazz: Gobert finds mean streak, now looks like an NBA player
NBA » In Summer League, Jazz center shows he’s raw no longer, sets lofty goals.
First Published Jul 13 2014 03:05 pm • Last Updated Jul 13 2014 11:08 pm

Las Vegas • Disgusted by a call made by the official, Rudy Gobert grabbed the basketball and gave it an immediate headache by slamming it hard onto the floor.

Spalding didn’t have a chance, bouncing high off the Thomas & Mack Center playing surface, and earning Gobert a technical foul in the process.

At a glance

Rudy Gobert

» Spent most of the off-season hiking in Salt Lake City and working out

» Had an emergency appendectomy in June

» Scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Saturday’s summer league debut against Philadelphia

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Saturday was just a Summer League game, one where the Philadelphia 76ers would pull off a close win against the Utah Jazz. But Gobert’s display of emotion — along with his newfound aggression when play actually matters — had to have been a positive sign for the Jazz.

In stretches, Gobert dominated the lane for Utah. Yes, he committed five fouls in his debut. Yes, he struggled with his free-throw shooting, missing six of nine from the line. Yes, he sometimes had issues catching the ball, much like he did in his rookie season.

But Gobert was a man defensively in the lane. He blocked shots, he altered others. He went up strong, and looked like he’s made strides in his first offseason as an NBA player.

"I wanted to get bigger and I wanted to work on my game this summer," Gobert said. "I feel way better on the floor now. I know my teammates better and I know the league. I feel good about where I am right now."

A 2013 first-round pick, Gobert now looks the part of an NBA player, after a season of frustration where he looked raw as sushi and struggled to gain significant playing time. Like many of his teammates, Gobert is embracing the fresh start and the coaching switch from Ty Corbin to Quin Snyder. He has also set lofty goals for the upcoming year.

He wants to be a starter in the middle, citing his competitiveness as a player in trying to climb that mountain. That probably won’t happen, but it’s realistic to think he can be a factor in Snyder’s rotation. Snyder has said as much from the beginning of the Summer League mini-camp.

"I think he’s someone who has a chance to help us," Snyder said. "He has the chance to be successful if he does the things that we set out for him to do. He’s someone who can protect the rim, and we need that."

This has been an interesting summer for Gobert. He’s been in Salt Lake City since the middle of June. He’s undergone an appendectomy. He’s hiked, and forged a strong friendship with Brazilian point guard Raul Neto. He’s recovered from his surgery and spent extra time working out in the Jazz practice facility.

story continues below
story continues below

He’s also developed a mean streak, which was apparent on Saturday night. He’s always been able to block shots with his 7-foot-1 height and amazing wingspan. But he’s attacking rebounds with a vigor that hasn’t previously been seen. He’s clearly made progress offensively, even if he probably won’t ever be a main option on that end. His ability to create foul trouble for Philadelphia on Saturday was a bright spot for the Jazz.

He finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. He knows that he has to work on his free-throw shooting, that 3 of 9 at the stripe won’t cut it. But, if one game is an indication, it’s evident that he’s made strides in his time off. And the Jazz have to be encouraged by that.

"I like to play physical," Gobert said. "I realized that Saturday was the first game, and I think everyone will be better in the second game. Last year, I think the game was too fast for me. It was hard to make the right play. The game has slowed down for me right now, and I’m better at it. That’s a good thing."


Twitter: @tjonessltrib

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.