Stifle Tower attacked
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert looked just that in the final preseason game of the year as he had the Sacramento Kings absolutely flustered. He was swatting shots away with authority and dominating the paint in essentially every aspect. Unfortunately, in Wednesday’s regular season bout, such was far from the case.
The Kings, led by big man Willie Cauley-Stein who was the team’s leading scorer on the night, attacked Rudy Gobert relentlessly, and largely were effective. Sacramento won the points in the paint battle 62-54 and although Gobert logged three blocks, his rim protection was less than stirring. The Kings weren’t shaken by the Stifle Tower this time around and got to the basket with relative ease on several occasions.
That led to Gobert posting a forgettable defensive rating of 114.3, far worse than his thrilling average of 97.4 from a year ago. Much like Rubio, though perhaps not to quite as poor of an extent, Rudy Gobert has gotten off to slow starts in each of his past two seasons, especially in comparison to how he’s finished.
I’ve mentioned it several times here on The J-Notes, but I’ll say it again – in order for the Jazz to be successful, Gobert needs to be impactful all year long, not just in the latter half of the season. Although he had a nice offensive game of 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, his defense was subpar. And that’s far from how the reigning DPOY should hope to kick things off in this new campaign.