SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Rudy Gobert is an NBA All-Star, a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, and is eligible for a supermax extension with the Utah Jazz worth over $200 million at the end of this season.
But Gobert says he’s not thinking about that.
“That’s why I have an agent, so I can focus on basketball,” Gobert said as the Jazz opened training camp this week. “So I let him take care of that. My goal is to win a championship here. It’s been my goal since I got here, and it’s still the same. I’m focused on the upcoming season, and I’m excited.”
One of the reasons Gobert is excited is the return of Derrick Favors, with whom he played alongside his first six years in the NBA. Favors brings a defensive presence the Jazz lacked last year when Gobert was out of the game.
“In the game of basketball, size is very important, and Derrick is a very good defender,” Gobert said. “We felt the drop, and we missed his presence. To be able to have him come back is just great.”
Last season, Gobert set career highs in rebounds (10.1) and field goal percentage (69.3), while averaging 15.1 points and 2.0 blocks per game. Gobert wants to remain the premiere rim protector in the game and improve his offensive skills this season.
“I feel like I haven’t scratched my potential,” Gobert said. “I feel like every year since I got here, I’ve gotten better. I feel like this year is going to be my best year so far.”
As the so-called “patient zero” of Covid in the NBA, Gobert is very curious how this season will play out, but he is glad teams are out of the Orlando bubble.
“There are a lot of unknowns of what is going to happen this year with the virus,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s just exciting to be able to play the game we love and to start a new year.”