Utah Jazz: The case for and against trading Rudy Gobert

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Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert

Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The Utah Jazz may consider trading Rudy Gobert

Let’s move past the basic Utah Jazz/Rudy Gobert storylines as quickly as we can, given that they’re extremely played out and most Jazz fans are probably tired of hearing them.

Yes, he was the reason the league initially suspended its season in March due to a positive COVID-19 test, and it’s possible that could have been due to his recklessness in and around the locker room. Yes, it’s possible he infected Donovan Mitchell, but far from a sure thing.

Yes, Mitchell and Gobert have a somewhat fractured relationship, both before and after the COVID incident, something that’s been well-reported on.

Also, Gobert is in the final year of his contract. It makes sense for a variety of reasons for the Jazz to consider trading him. Let’s look at the case for trading and the case against trading here.

The case against trading Rudy Gobert: Rudy Gobert is a premier defensive anchor

Rudy Gobert is one of the best defensive players in the league, plain and simple. While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis surely take the cake as far as lock-down defensive versatility, Gobert’s impact on team defense is subtle, yet extremely effective.

Directly, Gobert is one of the best rim protecting centers in the league. Of players that see at least 2.0 field goal attempts within six feet of the rim on defense, Gobert forces opponents to shoot 48.4 percent from the field, ninth-best in the league.

Gobert was also more stressed in this range than most other players, too. He sees the third-most field goal attempts per game within six feet of the rim (9.4).

In terms of raw counting stats, he blocks 2.0 shots per game, too, which was a down year for him in 2020. He nabbed a career-high 10.1 defensive rebounds per game in 2020 which equates to over 20 percent of opponents’ missed shots altogether.

Indirectly, though, it’s tougher to measure Gobert’s impact, but visually, it’s easy to see. He’s the final line of defense for the Jazz, bailing out failed rotations and drives by opponents.

The Jazz had the 13th-best defensive rating at 109.3, and that was anchored by Gobert.

Gobert is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and four-time All-Defensive player. His numbers aren’t empty, he’s well respected as one of the league’s premier defenders and is a top-tier rim protector.

Are you going to be able to replace that in free agency or the trade market? Maybe, but frankly, probably not.

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