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Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell find out today whether the work they’ve put in this season will result in a couple of All-Star appearances.
While Rudy was famously distraught a year ago over being snubbed, he said in the lead-up to Thursday evening’s announcement of the coaches’ reserve selections that he is trying to maintain more equanimity about it now, possessed of the knowledge that it’s out of his hands.
“I’m not really nervous. It’s all about controlling what you can control. You know, I’m not the one voting,” he said at Wednesday morning’s shootaround in San Antonio. “So it’s all about try to get a win tonight, try to get a win tomorrow. Just keep winning.”
Donovan, meanwhile, has his first legitimate chance to be named to the game, and didn’t deny that, after appearing at All-Star Weekend in the Slam Dunk contest and Rising Stars Challenge each of the past two years, getting to play in the big game itself is an opportunity he would relish.
“It’d be an incredible honor, for sure,” he said. “I’ve done every night [of All-Star Weekend] except Sunday. I did Saturday my rookie year, and Friday my sophomore year. So hopefully I’ll get the call.”
Donovan went on to note that an All-Star selection isn’t merely a reflection of his and Rudy’s talent and achievements, but also of the sacrifices of their teammates, the trust of the coaches, and the support of the entire Jazz organization. Meanwhile, both players were in lockstep agreement on the idea that while an All-Star Game nod would be nice, it isn’t the accomplishment they’re most in search of.
“I would love to make it. If I don’t, we have bigger things to focus on,” Donovan said. “Even if I do make it, we still have bigger things to focus on.”
“All-Star or not, the goal is to win something bigger every year,” Rudy agreed. “It can be a distraction if you see it the wrong way. It would be great to make it — it’s something that I’ve been dreaming about as a kid, and when I came into the league, it was one of my goals. But it’s all about keep getting better as a team and keep getting better myself.”
In case you missed it
Before I headed out for this three-game road trip, I swung by the office so Andy and I could record a new episode of the Weekly Run podcast — this one focusing on the death of Kobe Bryant, the Jazz’s shocking loss to the short-handed Rockets, and our thoughts on Rudy and Donovan’s All-Star chances.
Also, because Andy is a prince of a person, he agreed to take over my writing day the other day, and filed a great story taking a look at just how the Jazz have become an offensive juggernaut of late.
We also had plenty of Kobe-related coverage over the past couple of days: I wrote about his bookend Jazz matchups — from four airballs in a playoff game as a rookie to scoring 60 in his final ever game; Gordon Monson columnized about a couple of memories that illustrated Kobe’s humanity; and Andy captured the reactions of Jazz players and coach Quin Snyder to the news of Kobe’s death.
Other people’s stuff
• The Jazz’s loss on Monday to a Houston team missing James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Clint Capela may not be as bad as it seems, wrote Sarah Todd of the Deseret News, arguing that mental fatigue from Kobe’s death likely played a role.
• Forbes contributor Andy Bailey says we’re deep enough into the season to legitimately wonder if Mike Conley is ever going to truly fit with this Jazz team. He concludes with, “Patience is a virtue. But in the NBA, it can be harder to exercise.”
• The Athletic had a couple of interesting features either about or at least including the Jazz: Ethan Strauss chronicled how the team’s loose locker room works in concert with Quin’s mad-scientist oeuvre; and Sam Amick wrote about the music that various players love to listen to, including Donovan’s professed love of jazz.
• Tim MacMahon of ESPN wrote about Rudy’s All-Star chances, talking to both his teammates, as well as to Quin, who said his case is ‘self-evident.’
Like I mentioned earlier, the Jazz are in the middle of a three-game road trip, beginning with Wednesday’s loss in San Antonio. The back-to-back winds up Thursday in Denver vs. the Nuggets. The trip will conclude on Saturday evening in Portland. The Jazz’s next home game is on Wednesday, also against the Nuggets.
A musical coda
The kids from yesterday are officially back! You don’t need to be full of angst to appreciate My Chemical Romance. The band that came to encapsulate emo is back after a years-long hiatus, and just announced a new North American tour. This is fantastic news! If you’re not familiar with MCR, their album “The Black Parade” is an all-time anthemic classic. They’ve got a ton of other good stuff, too. “Black Parade” predecessor “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” hinted at what was to come with emotive catchiness. And “Black Parade” follow-up “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” is chockablock full of hooky bangers. So ignore the “emo” label, bust out the eyeliner, give these gents a(nother) listen, and ready yourself for aural delight!