Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert adds another chip to his shoulder

Snubbed from the All-NBA first team, Rudy Gobert has added another chip to his shoulder for the Utah Jazz 2017-18 season.

Rudy Gobert‘s inclusion on the All-NBA second team is not only an individual win for Gobert, but it’s a win for the Utah Jazz.

Famously overlooked when it comes to their star players, Gobert has broken the mold and could do so again by being named this year’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Frustrated after missing out on this year’s All-Star Game, Gobert has finally received the sort of accolades reserved for players averaging 14 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks while dominating advanced metrics across the board.

Upon missing out on his inevitable first All-Star appearance, he told the Deseret News:

“I’m still frustrated, but it’s not what I play for. I play to win games. I play to keep improving every day. It’s how it is. There’s some things you can’t control sometimes. I make sure to control what I can control.”

While making the second team is applauded, there’s a legitimate argument the Gobert could be left feeling a little hard done by.

First-team center Anthony Davis finished just four points ahead of the Stifle Tower.

Of the 100 media votes, Gobert received 43 first-team votes, 38 second-team votes along with 10 third-team votes. Somewhere out there are nine professionals that didn’t even have Gobert on any of the three teams.

Gobert was the heart of a 51-win team that many believed fell short of its potential due to regular injuries to key players. He not only led the team with his actions, but he led the league in blocks and defensive win shares.

He’s the best center in the game, but failed to have that recognized with a first-team selection.

Instead, Davis received the honor despite trailing Gobert in field goal percentage, field goal efficiency, rebounds, blocks, offensive rating, defensive rating, true shooting percentage, true rebounding percentage, block percentage, win shares, win shares per 48 minutes, defensive box plus-minus, box plus-minus and value over replacement.

What got him over the line for most people after a quick scan of social media?

Points per game.

The classic counting stat deceived 47 professional basketball-watchers into handing Davis first-team honors.

Not to diminish the season Davis had–after all, he did average 28.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists–but it’s the impact Gobert had on his 51-win team compared to the New Orleans Pelicans power forward’s paltry 34-win squad that has him ahead for this season.

The criteria for All-NBA selection is cloudy at best.

What did the 47 voters who didn’t have Gobert on the first team look at?

It wasn’t team success, because the Jazz were far superior. Nor was it the advanced stats, as Gobert soared far above.

Gobert is a guy with a constant chip on his shoulder. He plays every game with a scowl and points to prove, even if nobody else knows what that point is.

His improving offensive game looks set to take another step forward after averaging 9.1 points on 56 percent in 2015-16, to 12.9 points on 64 percent shooting pre-All-Star game in 2016-17 before blowing up for 16.7 points on 70 percent shooting to end the season.

If counting stats is what they want, counting stats is what they’re going to get.

With his desire to win basketball games and his quiet determination to receive NBA honors, it will be tough for voters to ignore the Frenchman in 2017-18.

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