Utah Jazz: one goal for every player in the starting lineup

Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert

2021-22 Goal: extend shooting range

We already know that Rudy Gobert would like to extend his shooting range out to the three-point line. In today’s NBA, in fact, every player whose range doesn’t extend beyond the arc would prefer to do the same.

Unfortunately, it’s a task that’s easier said than done. Luckily for the 3x Defensive Player of the Year, Gobert is a rare modern NBA player who can have a dominant impact on the floor without hoisting triples. That’s a natural consequence of being the best rim protector in basketball.

Nonetheless, any extension in the Stifle Tower’s range would qualify as an improvement. Last season, 77% of Gobert’s field goal attempts came from within 0-3 feet of the rim, with 20.9% more coming from within 3-10 feet. Arguably, his dunk-heavy shot diet is no cause for concern: the blistering 67.5% Gobert shot from the field last season is indicative of peak efficiency.

Still, here’s a solid general rule about skill at the NBA level: the more you have, the better you’ll be. The Utah Jazz could benefit from a Rudy Gobert who was comfortable launching a few more midrange jumpers from 10 feet and out. Such a development in his game could open up more space for Donovan Mitchell to drive to the rim, and add a little unpredictability to Gobert’s pick-and-roll game with Mike Conley Jr.

If Rudy Gobert never extends his shooting range an inch, he’s still an invaluable member of the Utah Jazz. His effective screening and high basketball IQ serve as complimentary skills on offense, and his efficiency under the basket preserves the Jazz’s high-octane offensive attack. Besides, Gobert’s main value will always be his elite rim protection: if he’s in the mix for his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award, Coach Snyder won’t be concerned with his shooting range.

Regardless, it remains the most logical area for Rudy Gobert to work on improving throughout this offseason.