It’s no secret that Rudy Gobert was disappointed to not make the All-Star Game last season. It’s also no secret that, in the first accounting of fan voting for this year’s ASG, Gobert was not even among the top-10 Western Conference frontcourt vote-getters.
“I’m on Twitter, so I see it,” Gobert said at Wednesday morning’s shootaround. “… If fans don’t recognize what we do for our team, it’s fine.”
Gobert’s teammates certainly recognize his impact, and are making it a point to celebrate his defensive prowess. If you’ve seen a Jazz player holding aloft the “peace sign” with their index and middle fingers any time over the past few weeks, chances are a Gobert defensive play preceded it. Reserve guard Emmanuel Mudiay got the celebration started.
“He blocked me in practice one time and he told me, ‘You might wanna take a jump shot’ [instead]. I told him, ‘That’s why you’re the two-time Defensive Player of the Year,’” Mudiay recalled. "He’s been huge. I think he should get [the award] again. He’s just been making big plays after big plays for us. We’re definitely a different team without him. So I had to start the chant ‘Two Times.’”
Gobert, of course, has noticed, and appreciates both the literal and figurative gesture.
“It really made me feel good, because I feel like they appreciate the work we do, and that I do,” he said. “We just strive for that. … We strive to get stops at the end of the game.”
It’s originator said it’s not going to stop anytime soon.
“It’s an anthem now,” Mudiay said. “You just gotta hold up the two every time he does something big in crunch time.”
Then again, considering many Jazz players held two fingers aloft while exiting the court in New Orleans, after Gobert stopped Brandon Ingram and as the Pelicans argued in vain for a foul that the league subsequently acknowledged should have been called, there will be times when it can be misinterpreted.
“We was holding it as ‘Two Times,’ but I think they took it as ‘Peace Out.’ They didn’t know what we was talking about, so I’m pretty sure when we go back over there, they’re gonna feel some type of way,” Mudiay conceded with a laugh.
In case you missed it
The Jazz have won six straight games — even playing just sub-.500 teams, that doesn’t happen easily. The team said there are three big areas of improvement responsible for the streak. Meanwhile, columnist Gordon Monson wrote about how the ball movement and the hot shooting have bolstered a previously creaky offense.
In the lead-up to the team’s first regular-season matchup against Derrick Favors, I wrote about how the Jazz felt about their old teammate, and then talked to Fav, who was approaching the meeting with a stoic, businesslike mentality.
Beyond that, Andy Larsen and I collaborated on a story about Tony Bradley taking Ed Davis’ minutes in the rotation, but the latter helping the former anyway, as well as a Jazz-centric remembrance of former NBA commissioner David Stern, in the aftermath of his death.
Other people’s stuff
• Sarah Todd of the Deseret News talked to Joe Ingles about the devastation caused by wildfires going on in his native Australia, and how he’s trying to help awareness and fundraising efforts.
• Tony Jones of The Athletic notes that Rudy has done everything the Jazz have asked of him, but wondered if that will be enough to finally get him into the All-Star Game.
• Ryan Miller of KSL took a look at what’s sparked Jingles’ turnaround following a rough start to the season.
• ESPN had a writer at the Jazz-Pelicans game, who waded into the controversial no-call at the game’s end.
One three-game road trip is over, and another is upcoming, but in between, the Jazz will have a pair of home games at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Tonight, they’ll host the Knicks, who will be on the latter half of a back-to-back, following a 30-point blowout to the Lakers on Tuesday night. Then, on Friday, the Jazz will see the Charlotte Hornets for the second and last time this season. After that, as mentioned, it’s on the road again, with games at Washington (Sunday), Brooklyn (Tuesday) and back to New Orleans (Thursday).