Three things the Utah Jazz absolutely have to fix to find success

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 30: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 30: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
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SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 30: Rudy Gobert (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 30: Rudy Gobert (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

Get Rudy Gobert more involved

Once again, if Monday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks is any indication, hopefully Rudy Gobert is ready to finally break out of his shell. After being one of the most dominant forces in the league defensively last season and finding himself at or near the top of the list in several advanced stat categories on both ends of the floor, the Stifle Tower didn’t exactly pick up where he left off to begin the 2017-18 season.

In a lot of ways, he looked a step slow on both ends of the court as his rim protection wasn’t as daunting as Jazz fans had grown accustomed to and his involvement in the offense wasn’t nearly as impressive as it had looked even as recently as this year’s preseason. Through Rudy’s first five games, he posted a plus/minus of -57. Both statistically and with the eye test, the Jazz simply looked better when he wasn’t on the floor.

Nevertheless, all Jazz fans know that such a thought is an atrocity and Gobert has proved as much in the latest two contests as he was +22 against the Lakers on Saturday and +32 against the Mavericks on Monday. Not only that, but he put up 17 points on just five field goal attempts, went 4-of-5 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line, and posted 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a hearty six blocks during the win over Dallas.

That was quite an impact and certainly what the Jazz expect out of him night in and night out as the resounding face of the franchise.

However, even with an improved pair of games, he still has a negative net rating (-0.4), a poor offensive rating (95.0 overall and an abysmal 84.7 on the road) and given how efficient he is from the floor, he’s in need of more than just five field goal attempts like he had on Monday. Granted, several would-be field goal attempts turned into free throws, which is a good thing, but considering Gobert’s exceptional pick-and-roll ability, Utah needs to look to utilize him in their offense even more and seek to get easy baskets out of him.

Especially considering that Rudy ended the 2016-17 season at a much higher offensive rating of 108.7, it’s clear that he and the Jazz are significantly more capable of getting him involved and making him a part of the offensive flow. In terms of defense, I’m more than confident that Rudy will continue his ascent on that end of the floor and not only get back to where he was last year but exceed it yet again. That one’s only a matter of time.

The fact of the matter is that Gobert became an All-NBA center last season for a reason and the Jazz absolutely need that version of Rudy, or better yet an even more improved one, to show up for the remainder of the year if they’re going to have any hope of shutting teams down defensively and punishing them on offense.