SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert is on social media.
So he sees the things being said about him — good and bad — on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms from both journalists and fans.
Honestly, it’s hard not to with everything so accessible nowadays.
But even in this digital age, the Utah Jazz center tries not to let the topic of becoming an NBA All-Star consume him so much that he loses sight of the bigger goal in mind, and that’s winning.
“I see it. Obviously, I’m on social media a little bit so I see it but my focus is on winning,” Gobert said. “I think that’s the most important thing, helping my team win, and hopefully people can take care of the rest, but my main focus is always going to be winning and doing what I can to help my team achieve what we can achieve.”
NBA All-Star Voting 2019 will conclude today, and although Gobert’s name hasn’t been listed among the top of the fan’s list, his teammates and peers have certainly been paying attention.
“I think his impact for them on both ends of the floor makes him an All-Star,” said Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. “I think he’ll make it this year in my opinion.”
TNT will announce the All-Star starters on Thursday, Jan. 24, then the reserves will get revealed on Thursday, Jan. 31 as selected by NBA head coaches. The actual game is set for Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, and Gobert’s Jazz teammates are confident his body of work speaks for itself to become a first-timer in the festivities.
“Oh, for sure he’s an All-Star. If he’s not in the All-Star game he got robbed. He needs to be there,” said Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver, also a one-time All-Star in 2015.
“Just going down the line of guys who impact the game on both ends of the court, there’s not many of them,” he added. “He’s really unique. He deserves to be in the game without a doubt. If he’s not then we should all be upset.”
Gobert is putting up a career-best 15 points, 13.1 rebounds and two blocks. He leads the league in field-goal percentage (65.6), has the third-best defensive rating (99.7), ranks second in win shares (8.2) and has the fifth-highest rebounds per game, among various other high-ranking statistics.
But even deeper than the analytics, Gobert has stretched his game on the defensive end to adjust to today’s NBA big men. Instead of just patrolling the paint, Utah’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year has accepted the challenge of defending on the perimeter and guarding pick-and-pop players such as Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Boston’s Al Horford.
“He does everything,” said Jazz forward Jae Crowder. “He’s a guy who we pretty much ask him to guard guys on the perimeter who can facilitate and he’s done that to a good extent, so I definitely feel like his impact on our team and me playing alongside him, he’s definitely All-Star worthy for sure.”
Gobert has never made the All-Star team, despite winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, twice being named NBA All-Defensive First Team and making the All-NBA Second Team in 2017. To the voters’ credit, he was hurt for much of the first half of last season with back-to-back knee injuries, but has held up just fine in his sixth season while continuing to improve offensively.
Gordon Hayward was the last Jazzman to make an All-Star team in 2016-17. Before that it was Deron Williams in 2010-11.2 comments on this story
In the voting process, fans account for 50 percent to determine starters, with current NBA players and the media accounting for 25 percent and the NBA head coaches selecting the reserves.
Snyder is confident that the big man has done enough to participate and certainly sees him in that pantheon of All-Star talent throughout the league.
“Hopefully he’s recognized for that with the All-Star voting. If he’s not I know he’s going to keep getting better and we’re going to feel like he should be,” Snyder said.