Rudy Gobert: Rim Rejections And Returns
Most NBA fans didn’t know much about Rudy Gobert when he first joined the Utah Jazz in 2013. The native of Saint-Quentin, France, spent his early career days playing for the Cholet Basket junior team. After four years playing professionally in France, Gobert became the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Though he averaged just 2.3 points per game, and 9.6 minutes per game his rookie season, Gobert quickly became a force for the Jazz. This is particularly true on the defensive end of the floor. In addition to averaging a career best 15.9 points per game, Gobert took him his second straight Defensive Player of the Year Award in June. Furthermore, Gobert has also made three straight NBA All Defensive First Team’s. Heading in this NBA season, opponents know that it will be no easy task scoring on Rudy’s rim.
Early Days with Utah
At the age of 21, Rudy Gobert became a first round draft selection. He was actually picked by the Denver Nuggets, but his draft rights were traded to Utah that same night. Gobert was viewed as a marginal offensive prospect and did not have a substantial impact in his rookie season. He averaged a measly 2.3 points per game in less than 10 minutes of game action, and was far from the player he is today. However, as his playing time grew after year one in Utah, Gobert began to stand out as a defensive enforcer.
In his fourth NBA season, Rudy led the league with 214 blocked shots. He also finished top five in rebounds, with 12.8 per game. Going into the 2017-2018 season, Rudy Gobert was poised to be a breakout star for the Jazz.
Becoming a Star
Even though Gobert appeared in only 56 games in 2018, he was exceptional again defensively. The 7-foot center averaged 2.3 blocks per game, and dominated his way to winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Could Gobert follow up with an even more impressive season a year later? He sure could.
In 2019, Rudy Gobert repeated as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, the French native averaged a career best 15.9 points per game, and shot 66.9% from the floor. In doing so, Gobert proved that he could make a legitimate impact on both sides of the ball. His rebounding skills didn’t diminish either. Rudy averaged just under 13 boards per game in 2019. After all of this, the numbers and the accolades speak for themselves. As the new season nears, opponents know it’ll be a unpleasant challenge trying to score buckets on Rudy’s rim.
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