Defensive specialists, part 1 - Rudy Gobert

Back to back Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA and by probably the top candidate for another one. Although he was never selected to the All Star team, which, in my subjective opinion, is undeserved, Gobert has been a player of incredible value ​​for the Utah Jazz. Their entire defense scheme is based on Gobert.

Utjecaj na ostatak ekipe

In the first chart, I showed how big the difference between Gobert and the other Utah Jazz players really is when it comes to amount of defended shots. Also, there is a very big difference in the success of defending the shot for two points..

What I have noticed on several occasions while watching the Jazz team is that the players on which the pick is made are always going over the pick, as shown here.

In my opinion I think they are trying to prevent three point attempt, because they have a security blanket in Gobert waiting for a potential pass or a drive from a ball handler so they can afford the risk of going over the pick. Maybe my doubts are confirmed by a chart comparing the number of allowed 2 point and 3 point shots, which shows exactly how Utah allows very little three pointers.

Gobert je obrambeni oslonac Jazzera

Because of these things, Gobert is the player who defends the most shots in the game, the following figure shows he defends 19.7 shots per game, and what is even more impressive is that the success rate of the opposing players is only 39.8%!!!! With that percentage he is at about 20th rank in entire NBA (when looking at players who have played at least 20 games) which is really impressive when we consider that Pascal Siakam is the closest to Gobert with 14.7 shots allowed per game while allowing a smaller percentage of shots to the opponent.

You can see this information on the chart, I have extracted the names of some players who defend a lot of shots, here the only goal was to show how big the difference is between Gobert and the other players on the subject.

If I limit the data to only 2-point shots, then Gobert moves into the top 5 by opponent’s shot percentage.

Interestingly, there are three Milwaukee players, Giannis, Middleton and Matthews in front of him, but they have significantly fewer shots allowed (6.1, 3.7 and 4.0 respectively). When it comes to the Bucks, we still have to praise Brooke Lopez, who is also a very good defensive player. But that fact is actually another plus for Gobert, as it shows how much he stands out with Utah on defense..

Speaking of some more data, Gobert is also 3rd (!!!!!) in Win Shares in the league this season, mostly because of Defensive Win Shares (DWS). Win Share is a statistic that estimates the number of wins a player has contributed. So Gobert currently has 7.4 WS, 3.1 of which are defensive.

Ofenzivni utjecaj Goberta na igru Utaha i zaključak

And even though this is a defense analysis, I will also touch on the offensive side of Gobert, where he should be praised in one not so closely followed segment, Screen Assists. He leads the league in Screen assists and points earned through them.

Given that Utah is playing Dallas Mavericks in couple of hours, who have the NBA’s best offense (if we’re looking at Off Rating), we can conclude that we will have a very interesting game in front of us.

Written on January 25, 2020