Warriors’ Steve Kerr says Rudy Gobert is ‘All-Star-caliber,’ argues for rosters to be bumped to 13 players

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) celebrates the win. The Utah Jazz defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 128-112 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Feb. 1, 2019.

Oakland, Calif. • Steve Kerr feels bad about Jazz center Rudy Gobert not going to Charlotte this weekend to participate in the NBA All-Star Game.

Just, perhaps, not bad enough to have voted for him as a reserve for the game.

Before Tuesday’s game between the Jazz and Warriors at Oracle Arena, the Golden State coach called Gobert “an All-Star-caliber player,” but said the label could be applied to several others as well.

“Every year, I get a vote, and there are always four or five guys that you have to leave off. You sit [there] and it’s agonizing, because you know they all deserve it, but you have to make some decisions,” Kerr said. “He didn’t make it. He was probably the first guy off the list, but again, it’s part of the league.”

Kerr did not elaborate on whether “he didn’t make it” and “first guy off the list” were references to Gobert being left out of the game altogether, or specifically left off of his own ballot of reserve selections.

While Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has made some noise about presenting to the league a plan that would overhaul the way All-Star teams are picked, including a potential selection committee, Kerr said he was likewise on board with some change, albeit not to that degree.

Kerr noted that 12-man All-Star rosters are a throwback to the days when everyday team rosters carried only that many players, and suggested some modernization was in order.

“I would like to see the All-Star roster expanded,” he said. We suit up 13 every game, and they only have 12 [per conference] going to the All-Star Game. I would think we should have 13.”

The Warriors became tangentially involved in Gobert’s All-Star candidacy when a video of the center reacting emotionally to being left off the team went viral, and Golden State players Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala posted mocking tweets in response.

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell suggested after last Saturday’s win against the Spurs that Gobert might, as a result, be inclined to take Tuesday night’s game personally. (Green and Iguodala, who were both listed as “questionable” to play, were made active before gametime.)

Asked if he had followed or ignored all the back-and-forth in the lead-up to the game, Kerr smiled.

“This modern NBA Twitter warfare never ends! It seems to be one of the most entertaining dynamics of the league,” he said with a laugh. “I stay out of it. You can ask Draymond and Rudy about that.”