Rudy Gobert has officially taken his rightful spot among the NBA’s elite with his second All-NBA selection on Thursday.
Thanks to a strange amalgamation of fans, players, media and coaches voting, Rudy Gobert was excluded as one of the Western Conference’s 12 best players when NBA All-Star Selections were made in February. To say that he and the Jazzland faithful were not impressed is an understatement.
On Thursday, the Stifle Tower and his fans were vindicated (again) when he was tapped as one of the top 15 players in the entire Association.
The league announced All-NBA Teams for the 2018-19 season and Gobert was voted in at the center spot for the All-NBA Third Team. It was Gobert’s second career All-NBA nod; he was a second-team selection following the 2016-17 campaign.
The complete breakdown of All-NBA honorees is as follows, via the league’s official Twitter account —
While casual hoops fans may be surprised by Gobert’s inclusion, the Jazz center cleared the voting bar with relative ease. 75 out of 100 voters picked Gobert on their ballot, and six selected him as a first or second-teamer. Jazz fans could tell you all about his exploits on the hardwood as well.
As for me? I’ll let the numbers do the talking.
This past season, Gobert averaged a career-best 15.9 points per game, to go along with nearly 13 boards and 2.3 blocks per contest. Along the way, he set a new league record by throwing down 306 slam dunks and led the league in field goal percentage (66.9), defensive real plus/minus (4.43) and screen assists per game (6.0)
He was also a top-fiver in catch-all categories like win shares (second) and VORP (fourth).
Earlier this year, I opined that Gobert could have a tough time picking up All-NBA honors thanks to Anthony Davis‘ efforts. Ultimately, voters couldn’t overlook AD’s missed games and I, for one, couldn’t be happier to have misjudged their demeanor as someone who covers and pulls for the Jazz.
But Gobert’s All-NBA nod wasn’t just vindication of sorts for his All-Star snub and a statement about his place in the league’s hierarchy. It was potentially a huge development with regards to his future earnings as well.
All-NBA selections are part of the qualification for super-max contract eligibility. If he fulfills those qualifications, he’ll be able to sign a super-max extension with Utah that would have starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap next summer. As it stands, his max starting number would be 30 percent of the cap.
Speaking of super-max deals, the All-NBA selections may have hurt the Jazz’s chances at landing Kemba Walker this summer. Thanks to Walker’s own third-team selection, the All-Star point man is officially eligible to sign a super-max deal to remain with the Charlotte Hornets this summer.
That deal would give him an extra year and $80 million more than the Jazz or any other team with cap room could offer.
In other words, the long shot just became a longer shot.
On the plus side, the Jazz officially have a top-15 player once again.