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Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert named to All-NBA second team, Gordon Hayward comes up short

First Published      Last Updated May 18 2017 11:05 pm


Utah Jazz » After All-Star snub, center won over skeptics.

Rudy Gobert might have been snubbed when All-Star Game invitations were handed out earlier this year, but there were few skeptics left by the end of the season.

Confirmation of that came Thursday, when the Jazz center was named to the All-NBA second team, coming very close to earning first-team honors, in a vote by news media that cover the league.

The long-limbed Frenchman was the league's best rim protector, leading the NBA with 2.6 blocks per game. He also reached career highs in scoring (14 ppg) and rebounding (12.8 rpg), paying back the Jazz for trading for him on draft night back in 2013 and signing him to a new, lucrative contract last fall.




Going into the season, the Jazz hoped for improvement from their big man after an injury-riddled third season, but Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey acknowledged that he couldn't have quite guessed how far Gobert would come.

"We certainly didn't see this coming," Lindsey said. "We try not to make those predictions. We tried to go get players with tools. Rudy's an example of someone with unique tools and a great mindset. You add that with hard work and unique things can happen."

Gobert was the key for a team that ranked third in defensive rating (102.7) this season, helping elevate the Jazz to 51 wins and a berth to the Western Conference semifinals. His brisk return from injury in the playoffs helped Utah prevail in rugged seven-game series with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Among the second-team honorees, Gobert's 339-point tally was closest to making the first team: He finished just four points shy of first-team center Anthony Davis of New Orleans. Gobert had 43 first-team votes, 38 second-team votes and 10 third-team votes from the 100 NBA writers.

Gobert maintained confidence in his ability throughout the season. When he missed the All-Star roster in January, he told reporters: "They're gonna see. They're gonna see."

The 24-year-old is reportedly set to earn a bonus in his contract for making All-NBA. Lindsey said he hoped to see similar growth for other young players in the organization.

The other Jazz star, forward Gordon Hayward, was left off the list, which has consequences for his summer free agency.

Having missed All-NBA honors despite becoming Utah's first All-Star since Deron Williams in 2011, Hayward fails to qualify for the designated veteran player exception negotiated under the league's last CBA. It would have enabled the Jazz to offer him as much as 35 percent of the salary cap in July when it's expected he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

The difference means tens of millions of dollars that the Jazz are unable to offer Hayward, and potentially a tighter competition for his services this summer as he comes off a career year (21.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.4 apg).

Lindsey told reporters on Thursday that his biggest offseason goal was player retention, and that the Jazz organization was working "with every fiber" to bring Hayward back to Utah.

— Tribune reporter Tony Jones contributed to this story

 

AT A GLANCE

All-NBA Teams

Voting on a 5-3-1 basis by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters:

First Team

Player, position 1st 2nd 3rd Total

G James Harden, Hou 100 — — 500

F LeBron James, Cle 99 1 — 498

G Russell Westbrook, OKC 99 1 — 498

F Kawhi Leonard, SA 96 3 1 490

C Anthony Davis, NO 45 34 16 343

Second Team

C Rudy Gobert, Utah 43 38 10 339

G Stephen Curry, GS 1 93 6 290

F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil — 81 15 258

F Kevin Durant, GS 3 66 26 239

G Isaiah Thomas, Bos — 71 23 236

Third Team

F Draymond Green, GS 4 21 51 134

G John Wall, Was — 19 68 125

F Jimmy Butler, Chi — 19 45 102

G DeMar DeRozan, Tor — 4 50 62

C DeAndre Jordan, LAC 3 7 18 54

Others receiving votes (first-team votes in parentheses): Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, (2) 50; Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers, 49; Marc Gasol, Memphis, (2) 48; DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans, (2) 42; Paul George, Indiana, 40; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 27; Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 18; Kyrie Irving, Cleveland, 14; Klay Thompson, Golden State, 14; Nikola Jokic, Denver, (1) 12; Damian Lillard, Portland, 12; Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 3; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers, 1; Al Horford, Boston, 1.


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