SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert has plenty of work to do when it comes to blocking shots.
You might not think that considering the first-team NBA All-Defensive standout is nicknamed The Stifle Tower and led the league in swats last year, but it’s true.
Gobert even admitted it after Friday’s practice.
For the record, this is in reference to a new video game the Utah Jazz introduced to the public this week and not to his rim-protecting production on the actual court.
While some Jazz fans have become adept at blocking the shots of competitors like Rookie Ralph, Crossover Carl, Jumper Jimmy and Quick Nick, Gobert said he’s only been able to play “Super Rudy Block” a few times.
His personal high score of seven falls well below BKA (102), JTS (84) and ADA (77) on the game, which can be played at nba.com/jazz/gambing/srb.
Gobert smiled and said “I can do better” when admitting that Crossover Carl (the second opponent SRB players face as Gobert) was too tricky for him.
“He got me,” Gobert said. “He has a pump fake.”
This has been an eventful couple of weeks for Gobert as the face of the franchise. The Jazz recently unveiled a replica mannequin, which he modeled for, in the Team Store’s grand opening, and now he has his own classic-style 8-bit arcade game, cheesy music, simple graphics and easy-to-learn controls included.
“I think it’s fun,” Gobert said. “It’s fun for the fans. It’s a good idea.”
Gobert laughed when asked if he’s frustrated that he hasn’t blocked more than seven shots. It takes four to get past Rookie Ralph and 10 blocks to face Jumper Jimmy. Opponents progressively get quicker and have more moves. If Gobert misses the block, then the opponent’s shot swishes into the basket (which the Jazz are thankful isn’t the case in real life).
“I didn’t play that much. I played a few games,” Gobert said. “I think if I really played I could get the best score, but it would take a long time.”
MOST IMPRESSIVE: Jazz guard Rodney Hood said he’s been impressed by fellow guards Alec Burks and Donovan Mitchell so far this preseason. He likes that both are “getting better” seemingly on a daily basis.
The player that really has caught his eye, though, is 30-year-old Utah newcomer Ekpe Udoh. The 6-foot-10 big man signed this offseason after playing the past couple of seasons in Turkey.
What’s impressed Hood about Udoh?
“How active he is on the defensive end,” he said. “He rebounds. He has a real high motor.”
NEW JAZZMAN: Utah announced that it signed small forward Kendall Pollard on Friday. The 6-foot-6 Dayton product went undrafted in June after averaging 14.0 points (on 52.5 percent shooting), 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals as a 2017 All-Atlantic-10 third-team selection last season.
It’s likely Pollard was signed so the Jazz can retain his G-League rights for the upcoming season. That’s also the case for Taylor Braun, Torian Graham and probably Naz Mitrou-Long.
Eric Griffin and Nate Wolters have been signed as two-way players for the SLC Stars.