Utah Jazz: 3 reasons Rudy Gobert is key to finishing off Grizzlies

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert chasing the spirit of Mark Eaton

While former Utah Jazz star Mark Eaton passed away in a biking accident over the weekend, the legend of No. 53 lives on. Rudy Gobert is now chasing the ghost of his mentor.

Regarding the long term, Gobert’s 1,220 blocks as a Jazzman trail Greg Ostertag by just 32 for the third-most in franchise history. Andrei Kirilenko sits No. 2 with 1,380. Eaton, of course, had a career total of 3,064 blocks.

But Gobert should be alone at the top of another Utah Jazz list at any moment. Eaton twice won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (1985, 1989). Gobert has a chance to surpass that this year as he is favored to receive the honor for the third time in his eight-year career.

That announcement is expected in the coming days or weeks.

It won’t be enough, though, to just again hold the title of the best defender in the league. No, the 28-year-old wants nothing more than to win a championship.

If Rudy Gobert protects the paint on defense and hustles back on offense, then his teammates will continue to reward their star center by feeding him for easy buckets at the rim…