In Monday’s Utah Jazz Media Day, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was bold in his predictions for the upcoming season.
NBA Media Days across the league are filled with overwhelming hope and optimism. The start of a new season is always a time for high expectations and sometimes unrealistic positivity. Although the Golden State Warriors still have a dominant choke-hold on the league, that won’t stop teams across the NBA at this early juncture from dreaming of bringing home a championship in 2018-19.
The Utah Jazz are no exception to that as they, as much as any other team, have their sights set on the ultimate prize. And with preseason just about to get underway, there’s no doubt that they’re feeling confident in themselves.
However, between the swagger displayed in media day, the trust this team has in one another and the place the Jazz left off in 2017-18, their optimism feels a little bit different. Rather than appearing as hollow confidence, it feels much more like a collected and attainable belief in themselves. The Utah Jazz truly believe they’re going to be a good team this upcoming year. And quite frankly, I agree.
Perhaps no Jazzman was as blatantly confident in such a belief as reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert in Monday’s Jazz Media Day. While at the podium, Gobert made it clear that he has yet to scratch the surface of his potential on either end of the floor. He also stated that he feels like this year is going to be his best so far.
See it for yourself in the video below from the Deseret News’ Eric Woodyard–
Considering that Gobert was DPOY last year and was an absolute force to be reckoned with the entirety of the year before in which he appeared in all but one regular season game, if he has his best year yet in 2018-19, he’s going to absolutely dominant. He’s already built a reputation as one of the stingiest rim protectors the game has ever seen, and his ability to block and alter shots as well as anchor an entire defense is nothing short of unbelievable.
Gobert followed up that statement about his belief in himself with a bold one about the Jazz as a whole as well, claiming that this team will be the best they’ve ever been with this group.
Considering how incredible they were last year from the time Rudy returned from injury until the end of the regular season, I’d say that if he achieves his first goal, there’s an excellent chance that the second will come to fruition as well. Gobert is the heart and soul of this Jazz team and the anchor of the defense. More often than not, as he fares, so fare the Utah Jazz.
It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if both of his statements prove prophetic, with his own best season directly correlating with the Jazz having their collective best as well.
Just how high can that type of individual and team-wide performance take them? Well that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? The Jazz obviously have their sights set on a championship, but most may say that’s an unreachable goal as long as Golden State still rules at the top.
We’ll start to get a pretty good idea of how realistic Utah’s hopes are beginning in a few short weeks. The Utah Jazz regular season gets underway on October 17th against the Sacramento Kings.