Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert Clarifies Comments From After Clippers Game

Mar 25, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) guards Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) guards Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Rudy Gobert made some clarifying statements today regarding his strong comments following the Utah Jazz’s loss to the LA Clippers.

Following the Utah Jazz’s disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last Saturday, it wasn’t just the fans that noticed that the team seemed to be out of sorts. In case you somehow missed the news, Rudy Gobert made some strong comments after the contest given that for the most part the Jazz looked unfocused, short on energy and quite frankly far from a top-four seed in the West.

The tweet below highlights what stood out the most from the comments that he made:

While insinuating that some of his teammates were guilty of not competing may have seemed harsh to some, as I wrote the night after the game, I am fully in support of Rudy speaking out and calling things as he sees them. The Jazz failed to show up in what was the biggest game of the season so far against the fifth-place Clippers and they undoubtedly needed a fire lit underneath them.

Nevertheless, since Gobert’s outburst, it seems that things have simmered considerably in what may have appeared to be an otherwise tense Jazz locker room following the loss to LA.

As David Locke and several others reported earlier this afternoon, the players met yesterday to talk over everything. Based on quotes from Joe Ingles, Quin Snyder and Rudy Gobert himself, it would seem that the meeting went well and that there should be a better understanding between the players moving forward.

Gobert had the following to say:

"“We discussed everything. I think it was good to talk to each other. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s great to communicate as a team.”"

He then went on to downplay and back away from his harsh comments somewhat. After Rudy stated that some of their guys didn’t come to compete, many began to speculate on who he might have been talking about. Guys like Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Trey Lyles and even George Hill were mentioned frequently by fans as the likely scapegoats.

But according to Rudy’s comments from earlier today, he didn’t exactly have any specific guys in mind:

"“It wasn’t targeting somebody particular. It was more about the team. Maybe I didn’t choose the best words. It made it look like I was picking on people, but not really. It was more our attitude as a team.”"

I’ll leave it up to you readers to decide for yourself if this more recent quote is truly the case or if after having some time to calm down after the frustrating loss, Rudy decided to simply retract any singling out of a particular player. I’d imagine there were a few specific guys he may have had in mind after Saturday’s loss, but it’s probable that he realized that the squad was more collectively to blame than anything.

That certainly appeared to be the case as, while there certainly are some guys who have been more infuriating than others of late, truly no one outside of Gobert looked engaged in the loss to the Clippers.

Gobert also credited his harsh words to, as the Deseret News’ Jody Genessy put it, the fact that
“he let his emotions get the best of him” and that the words largely came as a result of him being “frustrated after the game.”

Now the question that remains is whether Rudy’s words will have any significant impact moving forward, for better or for worse. If the Jazz come out with more intensity, one could assume that he brought some important issues to the forefront and the players were able to work it out in their recent meeting.

But if Utah continues to display more of the same or perhaps if certain guys look less engaged, then that could raise concerns of discord in the locker room.

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Hopefully the former will turn out to be the case as the Jazz are in no position to fall victim to internal squabblings. After officially clinching a playoff spot last night thanks to Denver’s loss to New Orleans, the Jazz have just nine games to solidify their playoff positioning and hopefully end up with home court advantage in the first round of postseason play.

Fortunately, it won’t take long to find out how Rudy’s words may or may not have affected the team as the Jazz are back in action tonight on TNT against the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s going to take a lot of intensity to fend off a vicious frontcourt duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, so ideally the Jazz will have taken Rudy’s criticisms to heart and will come out ready to compete at an all new level.

Because regardless of your opinion on how Rudy handled his thoughts, he clearly identified a true problem that was in need of being addressed.