LAS VEGAS — Utah Jazz faithful at the Thomas & Mack Center have loudly cheered and bellowed out “RUUUU!” whenever second-year center Rudy Gobert has made an impactful play during the NBA Summer League.
It remains to be seen whether they'll get that chance again Thursday at 4 p.m. MDT when the Jazz play the Spurs in the NBA Summer League tournament. Gobert and Utah had a rest day Wednesday, but his status is uncertain for this second-round game.
Some fans made their voices heard about Gobert once again Wednesday when asked to participate in a Twitter poll (a very unscientific one, mind you) with the sole purpose of finding out which player has had the best summer so far.
As could be expected, the poll’s results ranged from funny to thoughtful but mostly showed that some Jazz fans are giddy about Gobert.
And Rodney Hood.
And Dante Exum.
Wait. Momet? We’ll assume the fan who voted for "Momet" didn’t mean retired Jazz center Mehmet Okur. It’s possible this was a nod to Hungarian center Greg Somogyi, who rejoined the team Monday, but it’s most likely a vote of confidence for the other Australian, Brock Motum.
Here are the poll results (which have not yet been verified by Ernst & Young):
RUDY GOBERT, C (26 first-place votes): The 7-1 center had two strong outings before sitting out his third game with a sore shoulder. By the way, repeating “Rudy! Rudy!” in Twitter chants still only counted for one vote.
"Rudy gave us something to cheer for," Dave (@downrightdave) Horan wrote. "The crowd wasn't nearly as excitable without him."
Apparently fans were willing to forgive Gobert for actually missing one of his field-goal attempts, which lowered his shooting percentage to 91 percent. He's put up 12 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 blocks in two stellar showings.
“Rudy,” Zack Adams (@zmoneyfasho) wrote. “He actually looks like he may develop a game to complement his physical tools.”
“RUDY! His growth from last year is exciting,” @themarkseguin wrote. “Yes it is only summer league.”
Added @ColtonHarris8: “Rudy! He been more of an offense treat in couple days than he was all last season!”
RODNEY HOOD, SF (11): That figure is seemingly how many 3-pointers he hit in the third quarter Monday night, but it is how many first-place votes the Duke rookie received. The southpaw splashed in eight long balls so far, including a 7-of-9 outing against college teammate Jabari Parker. While his 29-point explosion in that blowout of the Bucks was impressive, the 23rd pick missed 11 of 12 treys in the other two games. But he’s also shown some nice versatility as a passer.
“Hood is plain smooth,” wrote @RexKwanDan. “And a steal at 23.”
MALCOLM THOMAS, PF (seven): The Jazz picked him up toward the end of the 2013-14 season and hoped to give him a chance to prove himself in practice and this summer. So far, the San Diego State product has been one of the most consistent players over the course of the three games, averaging 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 blocks.
“Thomas,” @Nick_Hedges_ wrote. “If he is not pushing Jeremy (Evans) for the 12th spot, then I think he is going to make the team and play in the D league.”
DANTE EXUM, PG (five): If media buzz counted for anything, the Aussie playmaker would be ranked way above the other Jazz players. Even Momet. Reporters from around the world have been excited to actually see the International Man of Mystery play. While he’s had some moments of brilliance — and his quickness is blazing — Exum has only hit 40 percent of his shots and dished out just nine assists in three games. But he’s fun to watch (finally).
“Exum, because he was an unknown,” Mike (@Third_Eye84) Middleton wrote. “Impressive to actually see the skill set.”
“Dante Exum,” @PeacockJazz added. “Happy to find out that he actually has the potential to be great & has drastically (decreased) his 'Bust' probability.”
Another fan (@seanp33) called it a tie: “Gobert because it’s the obvious choice. Exum because he doesn’t force anything. Rare poise.”
TREY BURKE, PG (two): Aside from a sensational alley-oop pass to Exum on the first night, Burke hasn’t had too many spectacular plays. But he’s been much more composed and steady at running the offense than he was as a rookie in Orlando. He’s averaging 8.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 26.7 minutes, and that’s not accounting for the leadership he’s provided for his less-experienced teammates.
Fan Dwaine (@dwainedavis) Davis credited Burke for his “calming presence,” and Hiram (@niner_jazz) pointed out his “maturity.”
BROCK MOTUM, PF (two): This unknown Australian has also made a name for himself. Well, at least Momet has. The 6-10 big man is averaging 8.7 points on 63.2 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds in only 17.7 minutes per game. His best play came on a put-back dunk after his mate Exum missed a 3-pointer.
“That motum guy or whatever has actually impressed me,” wrote Matt aka @Outta_time1985.
IAN CLARK, SG (two): The 6-foot-3 guard hasn’t quite torn up Vegas like he did last year, but maybe the reigning NBA Summer League Championship Game MVP is saving his best for last. Clark, who’s averaging 10 points, led Utah with 17 points in Tuesday’s win over Denver. The Belmont product has a non-guaranteed contract for next season and has a nice outside touch (60 percent on threes) that could come in handy considering the outside shooting struggles of Exum and Burke.
JARNELL STOKES, PF (one): Some fans, including this one apparently, winced when seeing that the Tennessee big man averaged 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds for Memphis in Orlando. Stokes has certainly outplayed the 2016 second-rounder the Jazz will get from the Grizzlies after trading the 35th pick. Utah management was leery of having too many young players on an already young Jazz roster, and this was the best deal it could get last month.
BRAD JONES, coach (one): Jones, Quin Snyder’s lead assistant, has done a fine job coaching this squad, which went 2-1 with a pair of blowout victories. He gets bonus points from the media for humorously ending one interview by jokingly saying, “No comment. No comment. No comment.” Snyder has observed from the front row on the other side of the court along with Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, general manager Dennis Lindsey and other Jazz officials.
NIELS GIFFEY, SF (one): Another facetious vote, this one for a German who's played sparingly and missed 11 of 14 shots he's taken. SLCDunk blogger @Peter_J_Novak wrote: "Giffey, because he's really demonst...er...he had that one night wher....wait no...ummm he just has a really sweet spirit." Don't forget that he helped Exum sing Happy Birthday to himself on Sunday, either.
LOUIS PRIMA, singer (one): The Twitter wise-cracker known as @5kl (first name Kris) did hedge his bet a little by writing, “Probably Louis Prima.” While “The King of Swing” did do Vegas acts back in the 1950s, this late performer was better at a different kind of jazz.
JIMMER FREDETTE, PG (one): Before you wonder if you'd missed a story about Fredette being included on the Jazz's Summer-League roster, you didn't. Some fans, whether they root for blue or red schools in Utah, remain obsessed with the 2011 NCAA player of the year. For good and bad. This one-word tweet from @MenaceSocietyUT about sums it up: “Jimmer!”
One thing's for sure: He's no Momet.
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