Saturday, April 17, 2021

A year later, Rudy Gobert is at peace. And done.

It was not the time of his life, understandably, that Rudy Gobert is eager to revisit. No one wants to be so closely connected to the day that the NBA, suddenly infiltrated by coronaviruses, suspends its season.

However, Gobert is realistic. He shapes consecutive positions in his rim-defense role for the Utah Jazz. He better understands that there are some things that a supreme shot-blocker cannot overcome.

So he knew for some time what was coming this month. The transcript coverage of the unhappy anniversaries removed from Gobert’s positive test for coronovirus on March 11, 2020 was unavoidable, ready or not, one year. It was a thunderclap Utah’s game in Oklahoma City was postponed that night and some 90 minutes later, it was suddenly announced that the 2019–20 season was being held on the Hetas “until further notice.” The novel was Coronavirus at the forefront of major team sports in North America.

It was like an unexpected seismic event that forced Gobert to one day, during a virtual interview session a few hours before playing in the 70th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, to answer a series of questions. .

“Some weeks, those few months, were really hard,” Gobert said softly. “I am blessed to be able to be here today just to enjoy this All-Star Game and to be healthy.”

The focus should be back on basketball soon and Gobert, this march, is clearly in a good place. Despite his minuscule 14.2 points, and LeBron James and Kevin Durant are among the 24 players selected when the All-Star squad could be selected, the final player on Thursday is Struggle in a one-year practice session. A more effective two-sided player.

It is the case that Gobert, due to his influence at both ends, is the most catalyst for half of Utah’s league-best record (27-9) during the regular season. Gobert, 28, is ranked No. 239 out of nearly 500 players in usage rate; Only 17.3 percent Utah Offensive plays end with dung shots, free throws or turnovers. When he is on the floor. But her relentless screen-setting, with constant intimidation as she dips to the rim for Dame, opens things up for Utah’s increased emphasis on a 3-point shot.

The Jazz is on pace to become the first team in league history to make 17 3-pointers per game. Ryan Smith, a rookie owner from Utah and a lifelong Jazz fan, calls Gobert “one of the most selfless players in the league” for the space he created.

“He does so much,” Smith said, “no one sees.”

This is a scouting report that nobody could have filed 12 months ago, when Gobert lost any form of anonymity. Two days before testing positive, Gobert made a show Touching multiple microphones and voice recorders on a press-room table. It was a mistaken attempt to lighten the mood on the first day that journalists were limited by a new NBA rule promoting social disturbances, not holding their microphones and voice recorders near Gobert’s face as they asked him questions . When Gobert’s positive test, the video was repeated again, his actions were widely interpreted, making fun of the severity of the coronavirus.

In one Instagram posts, Gobert apologized for the “careless” verbs and said he “had no idea I was infected either.” The NBA was largely praised for reacting so swiftly to Gobert’s positive test – with the post-season suspension of how many bills, that the threat of coronovirus became real for many Americans – but the results showed His status as the NBA’s Patient Zero made the villain at the peak.

These were followed by those tough “weeks” and “months” that Gobert referred to before making his second consecutive All-Star appearance. Yet by the end of the year, Gobert retaliated so strongly that he signed a five-year, $ 205 million contract in December, just days after Smith was accepted as the new owner of Utah. It is the richest deal in league history for a center and has ensured that Gobert had a dizzying sentiment in 2020.

“It was definitely a difficult year, not only for me, but for everyone,” Gobert said. “A lot of things happened. A lot of unexpected things happened. But I believe that every difficult moment is a learning experience. I think the most important thing is to try to make the negative positive, and hopefully I will be able to do so. “

Smith said: “It was tough for him at first, but if you ever dive into Oklahoma that day, nobody knew what to do. When I was still a sponsor, people were calling me: ‘How do we get the team out of here, how can I get a plane?’ The organization was virtually in the most unchanged position through which we have been. “

Gobert’s ups and downs were consumed for several months. His battle with coronaviruses involved a temporary loss of taste and smell. The microphone episode and a positive test for Donovan Mitchell, Utah’s All-Star Guard, escalated the long-running tension between the two, which continued until it resumed at Walt Disney World in July.

Gobert, Mitchell and the franchise suffered another setback when the Jazz lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs after taking a three-game-to-one series. Some around the league wondered if Utah would break the pair through trade. Yet Gobert insisted that the NBA is just in the bubble – and, for him, scoring Historical first basket To restart – he “had the feeling that the world was still spinning.” He and Mitchell have rekindled their relationship to the point that it has become a joke among jazz players that various media reports described the union as “inaccessible” last April.

“You play those two guys and it’s a long time ago, literally and figuratively,” Utah coach Queen Snyder told of past tensions.

To gain further distance from the crushing series, Mitchell signed his lucrative contract extension in November. The pair’s deal is worth $ 400 million and Gobert, the No. 27 overall pick in 2013, who spent time as a cheater in the NBA’s Development League, is perhaps his best all-around play (13 rebounds and 2.7) Is living with Per block).

“Signing the contract doesn’t put much pressure on me,” Gobert said in a telephone interview recently on the drive home from practice. “In people’s minds, maybe it has changed their perception of me, but no amount is going to put any pressure on me.

“I have set a goal on my back for many, many reasons over the years. When you win many defensive players over the years, people try to come to you. So I have already set this type of mind. “

Gobert, who stands 7 feet 1 inch and is a 7-foot-9 wingspan, also has a compassionate spirit when he needs counseling. Mark Eaton, a 7-4 center who played for the Jazz for his entire 11-season career, remains a fixture in the community and has become a sounding board for Utah’s modern defensive anchor.

They bonded a few years ago when Eaton introduced Gobert to a fellow Frenchman, David Folch, who designs bicycles with 36-inch wheels for long riders. Gobert bought his bike and soon visited Eaton’s Park City home for 7-foot-riders – and later, Eaton said “put my wife in our house” from his dazzling career. Gobert saw two of Eaton’s Defensive Player of the Year trophies from 1984–85 and 1988–89 and announced that he wanted to continue the tradition.

“Now he has two of his own,” Eaton said.

Praise was slow during Utah’s hot start, even when the Jazz made a 20–1 spread to 18 double-digit wins, but Gobert learned to live with him. He has a short answer for skeptics who say the Jazz must prove themselves in the playoffs to validate many of their regular-season feats: “They are right.”

When he was given the opportunity, he refused to fire at Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neill, who has repeatedly been sacked by Mitchell and Gobert on TNT – specifically about Gobert’s contract.

“I have great respect for his career,” O’Neill said. “He’s one of those guys who grew up watching basketball, we all saw that. But now he’s kind of an entertainer, so he’s talking, talking. If I said that about myself It would be a long year if I started taking everything personally.

Gobert said he would take an approach to cope with the similar view that his connection on March 11 is something he will always be asked about.

“People only know what they have seen and what they have been told about me,” he said. “I’m not really worried about people who don’t know what they think of me.”

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