Rudy Gobert’s potential All-Star season bolstered by No. 14 ranking in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100
The experts and analysts at Sports Illustrated have released their top-100 players for the 2018-19 season. Several players have climbed in their rankings, including Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who was given the No. 14 spot for his improved play.
Gobert — a 26-year-old Frenchman — is one of the NBA’s biggest threats in the low post, especially on the defensive end of the floor. At 7’1″, he is simply a force to be reckoned with in the paint, and his stats can prove it.
Rudy Gobert made 56 appearances with the Jazz during their 2017-18 regular season campaign, posting averages of 13.5 points on 62.2 percent shooting from the field, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and just under one steal (0.8) in 32.4 minutes per outing.
Gobert was ruled out for four-to-six weeks near the beginning of last season with a bone bruise in his right knee. However, the former 27th overall pick managed to return earlier than expected, re-joining the team on December 4 after missing 11 games.
Gobert is so imposing that he actually changes the psychology of a game. Opponents with the ball in hand turn their focus inward; you can see confident players talk themselves out of shots they would ordinarily love to take, all for fear of Gobert swatting them away.
Though the Jazz managed to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of last season’s playoffs, Utah was ultimately eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the second round (4-1). If Rudy Gobert continues to play at this level throughout the coming season, there is a good chance we’ll see the Jazz in the playoffs again.