Jazz notes: Rudy Gobert shines, Dante Exum more recognizable
LAS VEGAS — Rudy Gobert is sure he should have had two more points Friday night. If he hadn’t stopped grumbling and pursuing a referee after an iffy goaltending call, the 7-1 center might have had another technical foul, too.
“That’s not a goaltend,” Gobert said when asked about a tip-in he made that was waved off in a 75-73 win over Portland. “I just said, ‘Stop,’ (while complaining to the ref) because they’re not going to give me back my two points. Everybody saw what happened. So I don’t need to. I think even the ref knows that.”
Another thing everybody saw happen: Gobert flourished during his four NBA Summer League games.
At one point during Friday’s game — during which Gobert amassed 15 rebounds, 11 points and two blocks — NBA.com writer Scott Howard-Cooper joked about the Frenchman’s strong showing in Vegas.
“Liking the Jazz offseason acquisition of Rudy Gobert,” Howard-Cooper wrote. “I don’t know where this guy was in 2013-14, but certainly not SLC. Nice Summer League.”
Gobert spent most of his rookie year living in Benchtown, Utah.
The way he played this past week, the second-year big man showed he might be ready to relocate in 2014-15. He averaged about 12 points on 73.1 percent shooting. He also averaged just under 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks an outing despite playing part of the Summer League with a sore shoulder.
“I always knew what I could do. People (didn’t) really see what I could do last year, so they was saying I couldn’t play offense and I couldn’t shoot on offense,” Gobert said. “I’m just playing and people are going to see it. I think I can do better.” Gobert smiled when asked about being among the fan favorites earlier in the Summer League event when hundreds of rowdy Jazz supporters went bonkers with his good plays and bellowed out “RUUUU!”
“It feels good to know that the fans like me,” Gobert said. “I’ve still got to do the job.”
MYSTERY GUY: Rookie Dante Exum cracked a grin as an online reporter from a national outlet complimented him about the five humorous Foot Locker commercials.
“They’re all pretty fun,” he said when asked which is his favorite, “but I’ve got to go for the runner one. They let me freestyle for it a bit.”
The Australian admitted the ads made him more recognizable in the U.S. leading up to the draft. He smiled while telling about walking through a mall during a pre-draft workout visit and going unnoticed. After about an hour, somebody approached him and asked, “Are you Dante Exum?”
Yes, the basketball player, not a runner.
“You still get those people that aren't sure and then they ask me where I’m from,” he said. “I say, ‘Australia’ and they’re like, ‘Are you that mystery guy?’ ”
ROUGH START: After an abysmal 1-for-20 shooting start, the Jazz went 27-for-49 from the field to finish shooting 40 percent.
Jazz coach Brad Jones said he challenged the team at halftime. He told the players, “We’ve been using being tired as an excuse for two games now, and you guys (need to) step up and play with a little more juice.”
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