SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – While it may have been more emotional learning they’d be going to their first NBA All-star game last year, this time may be more special for Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, who are representing the best team in the NBA.
Gobert and Mitchell will join head coach Quin Snyder in Atlanta for the All-Star Game March 7th.
“Rudy and I aren’t here, and coach isn’t here, without everybody as a whole,” said two-time all-star Mitchell. “You don’t just get there as an individual. I think it’s the team’s success. The team having our backs and supporting us.”
After signing a five-year $195-million contract in the off-season, Mitchell hasn’t disappointed. He is averaging a career-high in points at 24.5, and assists adding 5.2 a game. Gobert signed a massive five-year $205-million extension and he is picking up where he left off last year.
Gobert has continued to dominate as one of the best rim protectors in the league, anchoring the 2nd best defense in the NBA.
“If you were going to tell me ten or 15 years ago that I was going to be an All-Star someday, it was a dream,” said Gobert. “It was just a dream, and I would have never believed that it could be possible. But I believe it’s about the team.”
Quin Snyder joins Frank Layden as the only two Jazz coaches to coach in the All-star game. Snyder will be coaching team Lebron on Sunday, March 7th.
The Jazz were hoping Mike Conley would make his first All-Star Game, but he was not selected as a reserve. Conley’s chances took a major hit after Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was named as the injury replacement for Lakers forward Anthony Davis.
“We’re the Utah Jazz,” Gobert said. “We’re a small market, so we kind of knew that having two was already amazing. But Mike deserves it. He’s got snubbed already a few times in his career.
“With us being the number one seed, I thought he was going to be able to get in,” added Mitchell. “It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t. We’re going to go out there and show our support for him, because he’s definitely earned the spot.”
In the new All-Star Game format, captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant will pick their teams, so Mitchell and Gobert could be competing against each other or against Snyder.
“I’ve played against Rudy before, so that won’t be as different or as weird,” said Mitchell. “But playing against coach, if that happens, I think that would be definitely a different experience.”
Speaking of different experiences, Mitchell will compete in the 3-point contest before the game for the first time.
“I’m doing it, so I’m excited. I’ve been begging Joe to get in it, but he’s old,” said Mitchell. “So let him go sit in his rocking chair with his kids. But I’m definitely doing it and I’m excited.”
The Jazz will wrap up the first half of the season with four more games before the All-Star break, beginning Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.