Chicago • It goes without saying that Rudy Gobert is special on the defensive end. At Thursday morning’s shootaround at the United Center, coach Quin Snyder pointed out for the umpteenth time that Gobert’s “ability to get out on the floor and protect the rim is really unique.”
What Snyder seemed to enjoy discussing more, though, is how unique the Frenchman is on the other side.
Because Gobert doesn’t have a post-up game, or a go-to move in the paint, there is a perception among some that all he can do offensively is throw down lobs, and if you shut down his rolling to the rim, you’ve negated his presence.
Snyder seemed to relish getting the chance to discuss “Rudy’s ability to come to do the little things to allow other people to essentially get the credit that shows up in the box score, and to do that selflessly.
“Part of the evolution of our team this year offensively is adjusting, and Rudy adjusting to the way that he’s being guarded,” Snyder added. “He broke the league record for dunks last year, so it’s obvious that we’re aware of him as a weapon, whether it be the pick-and-roll, or the offensive glass, dribble-handoffs — he puts so much pressure on the rim. But the evolution of how he’s being defended, and his ability to adjust, he’s really worked on his ability to make decisions and handle the ball and, really, his passing.”
Among other things.
Snyder also noted with pride how, in spite of Gobert making only 49.2% of his free throws as a rookie, and opponents employing “the hack-a-Rudy strategy,” the center’s work ethic soon rendered that obsolete.
“He took a lot of pride in that, and we didn’t take him out of the game, and he makes pressure free throws,” he said. “I think that mindset has continued to serve him well over the course of his career.”
In case you missed it
First off: Me and coverage partner Andy B. Larsen are making a concerted effort to make the “Weekly Run” podcast, you know, um, actually weekly. As such, we’ve already recorded this week’s episode, in which we discuss the Jazz’s winning ways; how Clarkson, Donovan, and Jingles are contributing to it; and what’s wrong with Ed Davis. (For the record, here’s last week’s too, which gets into detail about the bench shake-up.)
As for our written words instead of our spoken ones, I incurred the joking wrath of Quin Snyder (“You always pick something we’re 29th in!”) to explore whether the team’s No. 27 ranking in fast-break points is tied to its Nos. 28 and 29 rankings, respectively, in deflections and forced turnovers. BLarsen, meanwhile, just wrote about what’s made Jordan Clarkson such an instant success on the Jazz’s bench.
Other recent topics have included Ingles’ newfangled stepback 3; getting to know the other newbie, Ryajon Tucker, a little bit, and what he brings to the team; some details on how the new guys are being acclimated to the team; and the Jazz front office’s explanation for why they decided to make the moves they did.
Other people’s stuff
• When not busy breaking Marriott hotel TVs for Xbox-related reasons, Tony Jones of The Athletic is crafting excellent Jazz stories. Among his latest: Three reasons to be optimistic about the Jazz in 2020.
• I’ve spent some time talking about newcomers — well, there’s another one in the Jazz universe. Sarah Todd, the new beat writer for the Deseret News, takes a look at Tony Bradley eclipsing Ed Davis in the rotation, and what he’s done to earn his minutes.
• Ben Anderson of KSL Sports takes a look at how the Jazz’s defense rebounded from a particularly awful stretch back to respectability.
• AFTER you’ve read Andy’s piece on Clarkson, of course, you should read the one that Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com wrote about how he feels like his teammates have “welcomed me with open arms.”
The Jazz’s first three games of 2020 are all on the road, starting tonight with a matchup against the Bulls in Chicago. On Saturday, they’ll head to Orlando for a rematch with the Magic. And on Monday, they’ll be in New Orleans, where they’ll finally get a regular season matchup against former teammate Derrick Favors. Their next game back at the Viv comes next Wednesday against the Knicks.