Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert’s lack of touches a disappointing development

The Utah Jazz aren’t getting Rudy Gobert the ball nearly enough coming off the heels of the All-Star break. That’s going to have to change.

Going into the All-Star break, the Utah Jazz had won four straight games, and Rudy Gobert had been playing the best basketball of his career.

Now, the Jazz have lost four straight games following the All-Star break, and their All-Star center is being looked off on the offensive end of the court, a far cry from what had been working for the Jazz.

What’s going on here? Why is Gobert getting seven shot attempts vs the small-ball Rockets? Why is he getting five and four shot attempts in the last two games?

Well, there’s a few things that I have noticed. Firstly, his teammates are flat-out missing him on some wide open opportunities. Gobert will be open under the basket with no defender in sight, have his hands in the air and shout, but it just seems to go unnoticed.

Gobert will also on occasion have a smaller defender on him, but he doesn’t seal the right way. He’s got to assert himself down low, get position and put the defender underneath the basket.

Still, when you have a 7’1″ tall player with a 7’9″ wingspan, sometimes throwing the ball where only he can get it works.

Lastly, Gobert is an emotional player. That is a compliment. He’s always been one of the hardest-working players on the team and wears his heart on his sleeve.

The problem here, though, is the fact that he can at times let his lack of touches dictate his overall effort. He gets frustrated and doesn’t play at his best. While I do understand Rudy’s frustrating, the Jazz need him locked in at all times.

I’m not so sure that this is a chemistry issue. Many fans are trying to push that narrative, but the fact is, the Jazz don’t have very good playmakers. The only player who will consistently find Gobert is Joe Ingles, and he hasn’t had the ball in his hands as much with Mike Conley back in the lineup.

Conley is used to playing with a pick-and-pop big like he did in Memphis. Donovan Mitchell will give you a flashy pass occasionally, but his overall vision needs a lot of work. Bojan Bogdanovic consistently gets in the air without a plan and turns the ball over.

When the Jazz are making an effort to get him the ball in different situations, they are at their best. Gobert is probably the best offensive option on the team with his rolling, finishing and ability to get to the free-throw line.

In January, Gobert was getting 9.4 shot attempts per game, along with 7.4 free-throw attempts. He averaged 17.8 points and was giving the Jazz a ton of production on both ends. He was active, engaged and looked like an MVP candidate.

In February, he’s getting 7.2 shot attempts per game, with 5.5 free-throw attempts per game. His overall scoring is at 13.5 per game.

Prior to the All-Star break, Gobert was averaging 15.6 points on 8.7 shot attempts, to go along with 14.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

In four games after the All-Star break, Gobert is down to 13.0 points on 6.0 shot attempts, also averaging 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Six shot attempts per game from your best player is not ideal, especially considering how dominant he can look offensively. This feels like we are back in the beginning of the season, when Gobert made his desire for a bigger role offensively public knowledge.

Next: Can the Utah Jazz still make a Conference Finals run?

There’s a ton of room for improvement when it comes to Utah Jazz players finding Gobert in open situations, but Gobert must also stay the course and stay engaged. You’d have to expect things to change for him soon as the Jazz watch some film during this four-game losing streak.

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