For everyone who's had some cute things to say about playoff Rudy Gobert: Utah's intentionally funneling James Harden, who just had the best rate- and minute-adjusted scoring season since 1962 Wilt Chamberlain, directly into Rudy. Harden's 5-of-27 (18.5%) on shots from 3-10 feet.
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) April 23, 2019
The Jazz made a couple notable moves to boost their scoring punch, most notably trading for Mike Conley and signing Bojan Bogdanovic. Both are players that averaged over 18 points a game last season, and for a team that just didn’t have enough offensive firepower last year, it’s a major upgrade. The west is much more open than before, and the Jazz are one of several teams attempting to take advantage of the power vacuum left behind by the Warriors. While they may rely on their trio of Conley, Donovan Mitchell, and Bogdanovic to keep their offense afloat, it’ll once again fall to Gobert to keep their defense elite. Given he’s won the past two defensive player of the year awards, you should probably expect him to do so.
Rudy Gobert Fantasy Stats
Gobert has been the league’s best rim protector for a couple years now, but his progression on offense was very encouraging last year. He had career highs in points, free throw attempts, field goal percentage, and shot attempts. It’s true that Gobert still gets spoon fed a lot of his points, but it’s good to see his offensive role increase. With better playmakers on their way, maybe Gobert can put up another career high scoring season. As for defense, there’s little chance he doesn’t remain one of the best rim protectors in the league. His block totals should remain high as ever, and with Derrick Favors gone, he could increase his rebound total as well. Gobert’s ceiling next year is a season where he averages 17 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks a game.
One thing that’s nice about Gobert is that he has a pretty high floor. At this point in his career, he knows who he is, and he’s perfected the role he’s carved out. As such, it’s unlikely we see any major regression from him. He was mostly healthy last season, but he did get a little banged up in the 2017-2018 season, missing 26 games. Health isn’t a huge concern for Gobert, but should still be mentioned, nonetheless. Unless Gobert develops a three-point shot, it’s pretty likely this version of him will be his peak. Still, it’s a pretty solid place to peak at, and there are very few factors to suggest he’ll face a significant decline. His floor is still a season where he averages 13 points, 11 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2 blocks a game.
What to Expect
Rudy Gobert is currently ranked as the 6th best center in fantasy and the 24th best player overall. He’s expected to be drafted in the late second or early third round and holds an auction value of $29. Even if Gobert will likely be no more than a top-notch complementary player on your team, he’s still worth his price tag. His production is both consistent and predictable and he has a pretty high floor. Although he’ll never be a fantasy star, Gobert is a player that you won’t need to worry about underperforming.
The Jazz will be attempting to go on a title run this season. It won’t be easy but there are enough intriguing pieces to think they have a puncher’s chance. While the rest of the team will likely face some early struggles trying to adapt to each other, Gobert probably won’t. It helps that his role on his team is pretty simplified. However, just because it’s simplified doesn’t mean it isn’t crucial to their team success. The Jazz have been one of the best defensive teams in the last couple years and Gobert is the biggest reason why. I’m expecting another extremely solid season from Gobert where he averages 15 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2.5 blocks a game.
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