Ben Wallace says ‘sky is the limit’ for Jazz center Rudy Gobert
Ben Wallace, who won the Defensive Player of the Year award four times during his career, named Rudy Gobert as one of his top defenders to watch. He praised the 26-year-old Frenchman for the work he has done and winning the 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Wallace says now that Gobert has established himself as an elite defender, the Jazz big man can work on his offensive repertoire.
“I checked him out. I like the fact that he came into the league and he established himself on the defensive end,” Wallace said of Gobert, via Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. “Once you make a name for yourself like that, winning that Defensive Player of the Year trophy, and then come out and add a little offense to the game, the sky is the limit for that guy.
“Embrace what you bring to the game and have fun with it. Just because they said it’s no defense and this is a scoring league or whatever, don’t fall for that trap. Somebody is going to have to play defense in order for them to win. It’s your niche, have fun with it.”
Wallace was a four-time All-Star, two-time rebounding champion and six-time All-Defensive team member. He was also part of the 2004 Detroit Pistons team which defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Offense was never a strong suit for Wallace, as the Alabama native only averaged 5.7 points in 1,088 games. Gobert, on the other hand, is a much better offensive player than Wallace ever was and is only going to improve over time.
Through 12 games this season, Gobert is averaging 16.4 points, 13.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 72.1 percent from the field. The Jazz enter Saturday with a 6-6 record.