DimeMag

Rudy Gobert Wants The Utah Jazz To Get Him More Involved On Offense

Since being drafted with the No. 27 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has made a name for himself on the defensive end — so much so that, over the course of his six year-career, he’s made three All-Defensive teams, won two Defensive Player of the Year awards and led the league in blocks.

Defensively, he’s been elite, but offensively he’s improved his game over the years to be a legitimate threat with his size and length by the basket.

Last season, Gobert led the league in field goal percentage (66.9%) while averaging a career-high 15.9 points per game on a career-high 8.8 field goal attempts per game. This season, with the additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, he hasn’t been able to build on — or even maintain — his role offensively and he’s not happy about it.

After Utah’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Gobert voiced his concern with how little he’s been used offensively through the first seven games of the season and called on his teammates to get him involved, per Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Given how much Conley and Joe Ingles have struggled from the field to start the season (43-129, 33.3%), it’s not hard to see why Gobert wants to go back to what worked for them last season.

Last season, Gobert averaged 1.35 points per possession as the pick and roll man, which ranked in the 93rd percentile, according to NBA.com. He also averaged a respectable 1.29 points per possession as a cutter (52nd percentile) while averaging the second-most possessions per game as a cutter behind Clint Capela.

However, it seems as though Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is committed to getting the bulk of his offensive from his guards and wings, which means he’s willing to roll with the punches as they try to break out of their slump. As long as that’s the case, Gobert will be a distant fifth option on offense. In Snyder’s defense, though, Gobert hasn’t made a strong case to be a more featured player on offense, either.

Last season, Gobert attempted just 11 shots outside of the restricted and painted areas. On those attempts, he shot 1-11 from the field. In fact, if it wasn’t a layup, dunk, layup, alley oop, tip shot or bank shot from within eight feet of the basket, Gobert shot 40% from the field or lower.

Gobert is as good at what he does offensively, but what he does offensively is limited and can’t be a team’s first or second option. That’s not to say Gobert can’t improve offensively, but the time to do it isn’t in the midst of a heated Western Conference playoff race. The question is more whether Gobert can be more involved in the space that allows him to be his most efficient and productive, while providing the needed spacing for Conley, Donovan Mitchell, and Bojan Bogdanovic to attack the basket. That seems to be where the Jazz are trying to find balance right now, and for Gobert that’s been frustrating.

If Conley, Ingles and others continue to struggle, perhaps Snyder will consider going back to The Stifle Tower on offense. Given Gobert’s importance to the team on the other end, making him a bit happier on offense might be wise, but until then, Gobert will have to put his perimeter players in the best position to score and take what the defense and teammates give him.

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