4 Reasons Why Rudy Gobert is the NBA’s 22nd-Best Player
To kickoff the 2017-18 NBA season, I updated my “CurrentRANK Top 25 NBA Players” rankings. You can access the full list here. To expand upon them, I am publishing a series of #PlayerPyramid articles. Starting at the “bottom of the pyramid”, I will give 1 reason why ‘Player A’ is the 25-best NBA player. Then I will give 2 reasons why ‘Player B’ is the 24th-best NBA player. This inverse trend continues all the way to the “top of the pyramid”, where I will provide 25 reasons why ‘Player Y’ is the #1-ranked NBA player.
22nd-Best NBA Player: Rudy Gobert
- Reason #1: Players with great nicknames are generally better than players without them. Think about it – “His Airness”, “Wilt the Stilt”, “Larry Legend”, “Magic”, “Swaggy P”. If you have a great nickname, then you’re sticking around in this league. This is where Rudy shines the most, as the French big man goes by the blissfully wonderful nickname, “The Stifle Tower”. Get it? He’s French (Eiffel/Stifle Tower), and he blocks lots of shots (or “stifles” them). That’s brilliant! I cannot rate any player with such a nickname lower than this.
- Reason #2: Gobert made NBA history in 2016-17, as he became the first player EVER to finish among the top 3 in Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating in one season. Despite being known primarily for his defense, Rudy led the league in both blocks and true shooting percentage. For this reason alone, I’m likely underrating him. See below for statistical proof provided by Basketball-Reference.
- Reason #3: The Jazz center is best-known for his shot-blocking prowess, and for good reason. In a matchup versus the Indiana Pacers, Gobert blocked eight shots and abused young center Myles Turner on the block. Rudy’s effort was the highest single-game block total in the NBA last season, thus further cementing his ranking. Watch the clip below:
- Reason #4: The Jazz center is a professional basketball player. Did you also know he is a professional Tweeter? He must be, as he lit up the summer with this brilliant subtweet. His use of emojis initially appears to be randomly typed. However, dig deeper and you will discover a powerful message directed at then-free agent teammate Gordon Hayward.
“Miami is trash. Boston is crap. The Jazz are winners.”
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) July 2, 2017
On its’ own, this Tweet would not be a good enough reason to rank Rudy among the NBA’s 25 best players. What spanned afterwards, however, is what elevates this tweet to legendary status.
Then-Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas joined in on the fun, using the same team icons to count the number of NBA championships won by each franchise. The message was clear: Boston trumps them all with 18 championships.
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) July 2, 2017
Hassan Whiteside, who plays for the Miami Heat, wasn’t going down without a fight. He capped off the hilarious Twitter conversation with his reason for Gordon to choose Miami: NBA championship rings won in recent years.
— Hassan Whiteside (@youngwhiteside) July 2, 2017
NBA fans loved this subtweet feud and it fueled a lot of fun summer conversation. For his role in starting it, and for also fighting to keep his teammate, Gobert deserves a heap of praise! For all of these reasons above, I rank him as the 22nd-best player in the NBA for 2018!
The next article in #PlayerPyramid will give 5 reasons for Isaiah Thomas being the 21st-best player in the NBA.
The prior article in #PlayerPyramid provided 3 reasons for Mike Conley being the 23rd-best player in the NBA.
Let me know your thoughts on the series via comment below, or on Twitter @NBAStatsLab.