Rudy Gobert’s 2020 year is more like a movie than a normal basketball player year. Designated “patient zero” after being the first to contract Covid-19 in the NBA, the French pivot then entered a phase of doubt concerning his future in Utah. But a few phone calls, a choke and an overtime later, here comes Rudy and the first Jazz of the NBA: it is not therefore the Coronavirus and the noise of the corridors that will prevent Utah from playing the spoiler once again.
Where to start. Mid-March, the NBA is officially suspended because Rudy Gobert, pivot of Jazz, tested positive for Covid-19. A wave of hatred then unleashed on the French pivot, considered by some (idiots) solely responsible for the stopping of our favorite League. Shortly after, The Athletic reveals that the relationship between Rudy and his franchise player Donovan Mitchell would be “irrecoverable”, the rear not having appreciated the attitude of the pivot in relation to the health situation. We say to ourselves that the future of Jazz is in danger and that the adventure will have to continue without one of the two All-Stars in Salt Lake City. Big jump almost nine months later. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have extended their contracts for five years each and a record amount for the Frenchman ($ 205 million), tying them, together, to the Utah franchise until 2026. Jazz then launched its season with its two pillars still among them and, surprise, the workforce is still doing well, even better, since after a month of competition and in particular a series of eleven victories in a row, the Jazz has … the best record of the NBA, 16 wins for 5 losses, thanks to one of the best attacks in the League and a defense that has regained its splendor. Irreparable they said. Gobzilla thus delivered himself, always for The Athletic, on his year 2020 and especially on the way in which they managed, him and the Jazz, to find themselves as a team after a difficult period:
“It was a very hard period for me and the whole team. But I think this experience also helped me and the group to grow. Between me and Donovan, we managed to put ourselves in the other’s shoes. When your two leaders come to understand each other, it’s very strong and it’s a way to learn together. This is one of the reasons why today we are confident about our chances of winning the title. “
Wise word from the Frenchman who therefore thinks that the group has learned to grow and has emerged stronger from these trials of the past year, whether it is the Covid or the failure in the Playoffs. Gobert also reveals that he had long and honest conversations on the phone with Spida in order to put their differences aside and prove to the world that they should always be counted on their duo for years to come. The bubble experience also had a positive impact on the group, according to Gobert, despite the 4-3 loss to the Nuggets after leading 3-1. A group was created during this period and we want to believe it in view of the results of this start of the season. You had to go through this failure to grow and maybe the Jazz has turned a corner as a team this summer.
“I think we have a group that likes to play with each other. We’re all focused like we never have been since I’ve been in Utah because we finally realized that this is all bigger than us and that we have the opportunity to accomplish something great this year. We all know that bringing a title back here would be something very special, something that has never been done before, so we if we all give a little more than we have, by making more sacrifices, we will be fortunate to be in a position where we can achieve this goal. Everyone knows it, and that’s why everyone is ready to give their all for this group. “
It is therefore a united group that Gobert describes to us, a group that realized that winning the ultimate title comes with many sacrifices and going above and beyond that few are able to accomplish. Utah is hungry and Utah does not listen to the noises of the media or the fans. No one believed that Mitchell and Gobert were going to play together again, and today here they are at the top of the West. Nobody believed that Gobert would become an All-Star, a titular bigman in the NBA and here he is with the biggest contract in history for a pivot and for a French sportsman. It is this mentality that Quin Snyder’s group wants to imbibe, defy the forecasts and give everything to get the ultimate reward.
Rudy Gobert gave a strong and honest interview about himself and his past season. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and it is with this mentality that Rudy, Mitchell and the whole Jazz group have decided to move forward. The season is far from over and even if we expect them in the Playoffs, we can be sure that the doubts of last year are definitely gone.
Source texte : The Athletic