Rudy Gobert jabs Team USA for leaving Derrick Favors off minicamp roster
It’s hard to maintain a sense of humor on the Utah Jazz these days, especially after this week’s news of Dante Exum’s torn ACL. But it’s great to see that center Rudy Gobert is at least making an attempt to do so.
The best young rim protector in the league called out Team USA Basketball on Twitter Thursday for leaving frontcourt mate Derrick Favors off their 34-man minicamp roster.
— NBA (@NBA) August 6, 2015
— rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) August 6, 2015
Gobert standing up for his teammate is not all that surprising considering how the two form one of the most exciting defensive frontcourts in the Association today. Gobert allowed a miserly 40.4 percent on opposing shots at the rim last year (tops amongst qualified big men) and Favors wasn’t very far behind at 43.8 percent (fifth in the league). Not only that but the Jazz posted an elite 99.8 defensive rating last season when the duo shared the floor. That’s a number that would have ranked third in the league over the course of the entire season, behind only the Kraken-armed Milwaukee Bucks and the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
As for the offensive end, Favors has a mature offensive game well beyond the dunks and short baby hooks that the 23-year-old Gobert’s arsenal is mostly limited to at this point. Favors, 24, averaged 16.0 points per game last year, a career high, and proved one of the more efficient back-to-the-basket scorers in the league with a growing midrange game to boot. So it makes sense that Gobert is vouching for Favors, a guy that brings out the best in him on both ends.
The French center may be feeling particularly vocal, especially after Milwaukee’s Michael Carter-Williams won out a roster invite at the last minute over Jazz teammate Trey Burke.
Unfortunately for Favors though, the influx of talent in today’s NBA is probably greater than at any point in history, meaning deserving players like the Georgia Tech product will inevitably be snubbed. We simply have too much talent, which is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. I would still personally give Favors the spot of Mason Plumlee, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Nevertheless, the Stifle Tower has spoken. Team USA, take notes.
*Stats courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball Reference*