The center position may be dying, but the Utah Jazz‘s Rudy Gobert thinks he’s the best at that spot right now.
Following Sunday night’s game between the Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies, which is a nominee for the worst offensive game this season, Rudy Gobert didn’t hold back when asked his opinion on the NBA’s best center.
“To be honest, right now, I think it’s me,” said the Stifle Tower to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “But it’s a long season. I just try to take every game as a challenge. The hardest thing is to do it [for] the full season.”
In that game against the Grizz, Gobert was a huge reason the Jazz won. The fourth-year center recorded 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting, and he also inhaled 12 rebounds and swatted three shots. Gobert has been putting up numbers like this all season, and Utah is, arguably, the best defense in the league because of him.
He’s proving he’s worth the $102 million the Jazz gave him this summer, and he should be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year by the end of the season. Gobert is the NBA’s leader in blocked shots (76), second in blocks per game (2.7) and his defensive rating per 100 possessions is also second (97).
I’m reluctant to call him the NBA’s best center. However, if “right now” means the last five or six games, he’s certainly in that conversation.
Over the last six games, the Jazz are 5-1, and Gobert is averaging 18 points on 86 percent shooting (no, that’s not a typo), 12.7 rebounds, three blocks and a plus-nine point differential.
Not too many other centers are doing that much over that period, but, for the season collectively, Gobert has some time to climb the ladder.
Ahead of him are guys like DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Brook Lopez and maybe even Hassan Whiteside, but they all have something in common. Between those five guys, they all need to carry their respective franchises and their skill sets have evolved because of it.
Utah is in a position where they don’t need Gobert to be a go-to guy offensively. Down the line that could happen, though — just look at Whiteside. Gobert’s offense is still a work in progress, and that’s the only thing keeping him from being a top center in the league.The guys above him are polished and versatile on offense, along with being outstanding defenders even though their teams aren’t as an aggregate.
At this juncture, he’s a roll guy who can’t do much outside of catching lobs and finishing out of the pick-and-roll. He doesn’t have a post game or the ability to stretch the floor. But, this is not a bad thing. Quin Snyder has a myriad of weapons at his disposal which allows any production from Gobert to be even more beneficial.
If something catastrophic happened and the Stifle Tower needed to become Utah’s go-to guy, there isn’t much stopping him from making the jump.
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