Many Jazz fans seem to be forgetting that we have two star players here in Utah. The other is named Rudy Gobert.
While he may not have been named an All-Star this last season, the common consensus among most media outlets is that Gobert was snubbed. The 2nd Team All-NBA selection confirmed as much.
Gobert is still young at 25, and he is only getting better. He also may be the most competitive person on this Jazz team, and I guarantee that he takes the departure of Hayward personally.
He is the type of player who takes being overlooked and slighted, and uses it as fuel to raise his game to an even higher level. Just look at the recent events that should help to propel him forward:
- Not selected to participate in the NBA All-Star game
- Lost to the Warriors in the playoffs, and more importantly to Draymond Green
- Finished 2nd in the Most Improved Player voting (not too sure he cares)
- Finished 2nd in Defensive Player of the Year voting (definitely cares)
- Gordon Hayward chooses to leave Utah to join the Celtics
This is just more fuel to the fire that is already burning for Gobert. He was already a dominant force last season, but I expect him to be even more motivated and to take another step forward.
He led the league in almost every defensive category this last season, and I expect that the Jazz will put an even larger focus on defense if they plan to make the playoffs next season. We have just the guy to make that happen.
The Stifle Tower should play with an even bigger chip on his shoulder this season. He is going to play angry, and I think Jazz fans are going to love angry Rudy.