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Monson: Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey fires off on Rudy Gobert All-Star snub

Published January 29, 2017 3:51 pm

Utah Jazz • Gobert's contributions on the defensive end are invaluable to the team.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey typically is a measured interview. He dispenses good information but chooses his words carefully and understands their implications. On Friday, though, during his weekly interview on 1280/97.5 The Zone, a fired-up Lindsey unloaded his straight feelings in a refreshingly striking way about Rudy Gobert being left out of the NBA All-Star game.

When I asked him specifically about Gobert's absence — as voted by the coaches — and whether it would motivate the young center, so forthright were his remarks, I thought them worth printing here. Mixed into the honesty and emotion, too, was an end goal for Gobert via Lindsey.

Get a load of part of what he said:

"I was pretty salty [Thursday], and usually that subsides and it hasn't, so I'm going to go off for a few minutes here.

"Rudy doesn't need any more motivation. He has edge. Rudy uses slight, whether it's a tweet or being the 27th pick or, in this case, getting left off the All-Star team. I think all of us [who] are competitive and edgy kind of look for something like that. I'm not sure it's a healthy way to be, but it is what it is, and it's allowed Rudy to improve. His edge. His care-factor.

"And it's also something that has [bound] our community and fans and organization, the Millers, myself, Quin [Snyder] to Rudy. I mean, he deeply, deeply cares.

"And I don't mean to be the curmudgeon here. I'm not the biggest All-Star-event-week guy. I care because our players care about it. And so, because I care about — in this case — Rudy, I'm disappointed. I think he not only deserved it, but deserved it in front of a few people [who] did make it. And I'm not going to name names.

"I will say this: I'm much like Quin — I think those guys [who] did make it deserved it. I think Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and Chris Paul and LaMarcus Aldridge and probably others that I'm leaving off — Karl Anthony Towns — can all have that case. I just believe that our guy did deserve it and deserved it more, to be frank.

"And so I'm going to be a little less qualified, maybe, than normal. And excuse me for throwing data and all that at you guys, but let me just start:

"Utah currently leads the NBA in points [allowed] per game at 95 points, more than three less than any other team.

"Ranked second in opponent field-goal percentage. Who are we going to ascribe the yeoman's credit? It's a team credit and a team credit to Quin, but as you guys know, Rudy's quite unique.

"He's the only player in the league with averages of 12.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.5 blocks.

"He's the only player in the NBA currently ranked in the top five in both rebounds and blocks.

"Only player ranked in the top three in blocks per game the last three seasons.

"Had streaks of 31 games with 10-plus rebounds, the fifth longest streak since 1997.

"He's the [first] Jazz player to have 11 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks since Rich Kelly.

"Recorded the only 25/25 points-and-rebounds game this season, only fourth in Jazz history.

"Here are the categories that Rudy ranks No. 1 in:

• Total blocks.

• Blocks per game.

• Defensive rating.

• Defensive win shares.

• True shooting percentage.

• Points per shot.

• Defensive real plus/minus.

• Offensive rebounds.

"Here are the categories that — and I know I'm being obnoxious, guys, and yeah, I hope writers tweet it, frankly — here are the categories that Rudy ranked No. 2 in:

• Field-goal percentage.

• Effective field-goal percentage.

• Dunks.

• Block percentage.

• Defensive block plus/minus.

"Here are the categories Rudy ranks No. 3 in:

• Total rebounds.

• Player screen assists.

• Offensive rating — again, his vertical spacing means a lot.

"There's more. There are all kinds of crazy statistics, guys. And so, I am, I'm disappointed. He deserved it. I think he will use it. That's good, but Rudy Gobert doesn't need any motivation. And you guys see how he plays every game. He didn't have a great game against Denver, but he led the comeback and our fight when he had a particularly poor first three quarters. He played great in the fourth.

"I can go on and on, but the thing that I hope to do is use this to draw attention to the writers [who] vote on the Defensive Player of the Year, to the writers [who] vote on First Team All [Defense] …

"Look, we're unique defensively and he's the most unique guy, and I think it's something that we've got to capitalize on, it's how we've built our program.

"He's done what we've asked. So, normally, I treat matters like this more with kid gloves and a little bit more political, but he and I talked, we texted. I wanted to be able to, more in an empirical way and with some emotion, express that we don't believe that he has to prove his way over a three- or four-year period. If he was All-Star quality and deserved it, he should've been voted in this year."

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM. Twitter: @GordonMonson.






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