Why is Rudi Goubert’s rating not higher in the US?

After eight seasons in the NBA, Rudy Gobert is struggling to establish himself in the hearts of Americans, even if his performance is there with the Utah Jazz, who should play in the first round of the playoffs against Dallas from Saturday. Hours).

After the stunning scenario of the semi-finals of the Western Conference against the Los Angeles Clippers (4-2 after a 2-0 lead) last year, could the Utah Jazz claim their first NBA title after losing two finals in 1997 and 1998? Against Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, Utah can count on Rudy Gobert, one of their batting strongmen (15 points, MVP of the regular season with 14.7 average rebounds). If the French player and his unusual size (2.16m) confirm that they are one of the elements of his team, then his rating is not as high as that across the Atlantic.

  • It’s not American

It may sound silly, but one of the reasons the NBA doesn’t like Rudy Gobert is his nationality. Un-American, the center is one of a long list of players who can complain about rough treatment from NBA followers. Before him, Tony Parker or Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki had to win a title to have their true value recognized.

“He wouldn’t have the same aura as Tony Parker. Rudy is an inside player, while TP was a starting guard. The exposure isn’t the same, especially since he plays in Utah, a fairly conservative franchise. It’s not New York or Los Angeles. Obviously if he could From winning a ring, the situation could change because the media coverage will not be the same,” explains Thierry Chevrier, Director of Cholet Basket, First Jazz Club.

Basketball fans will never forget the “Patient Zero” episode at the start of the health crisis in 2020. During a press conference, the France international made a joke by touching all microphones and recording equipment after being asked about the pandemic. The result: The Jazz player tested positive 48 hours later and became the first positive case in the NBA. This sequence obviously did not fix the axis image.

“Rudi is very strong mentally and he is smart. We didn’t give him anything, he has ‘cojones.’ Since I’ve known him, he’s been the same with his representative,” confirms Sylvain Delorme, his coach who is hoping for Cholet. A sentiment shared by David Solard, who has known the man for 10 years. “Rudy has made progress in his communications. His image is different from that of the 17-year-old, who had a cool approach. Today, he maintains a good distribution both on and off the field. He is an intelligent and cultured lad.”

  • ‘Grumbler’ is waiting for an all-star game selection

In the United States, the French are seen as cowardly and fearful but arrogant. A very ugly picture, not necessarily accurate, which Joubert is already paying for de factowithout being able to do anything about it. But in fact, all of his criticism of the arbitration or his complaints of lack of recognition fuel how Americans feel about him. No one has forgotten, for example, Draymond Green’s tearful criticism of the Frenchman after not being selected for the 2019 All-Star. Rudy Gobert cracked in front of reporters: “It was a difficult evening. My mom made me cry. It was hard, but it is what it is ” .

The reaction that sparked laughter Draymond Green, the Golden State player, also missed the All-Star Game that same year. “I guess I should cry too…no Charlotte?” Axis Warriors tweeted. Since then, the two champs have been constantly sending spades to each other, most recently dating back to the last All-Star Game, in Cleveland, where Greene was upset by being compared to the French. A four-time All-Star, the American has more choice than Gobert, being picked three times in a row since 2020, often as a last resort. “With his three titles as Defender of the Year, Rudy has shown that he is a rare player and a quality player. He has a real impact on his team’s game,” continues Sylvain Delorme. And the proof is in the numbers, because Utah is still in the conference semi-finals against the Los Angeles Clippers after it managed to set the best record in the league (52 wins – 20 losses).

  • He has to prove himself against the stars

To get the long-awaited recognition, the 29-year-old must earn the respect of his peers. And it all starts with results in a file money timeEspecially during play-off matches. Over the past five seasons (Joubert has been at Utah since 2013, editor’s note), the Jazz team has qualified for the first round of the playoffs five times. But Salt Lake City never made it past the semifinals during that time. The last conference final dates back to the 2007-2008 season (against Tottenham). You have to look back to 1998 to find the effects of losing the NBA Finals to the Chicago Bulls.

For David Soulard, “Rudy Gobert must have been the first to climb mountains and his goals.” This requires making reference matches against Joël Embiid or Nikola Jokic, two other beasts of the NBA rackets. And it all starts on Saturday (7pm in France), with the first game of the first round on the Dallas floor, where Luka Doncic, another European delighting the American floors, reigns supreme.

NBA game schedule

From Saturday 16th April:

Dallas Utah

Minnesota Memphis

Philadelphia Toronto

Golden State-Denver

From Sunday 17 April:

Boston Brooklyn

Miami 8 East

Milwaukee Chicago

Phoenix 8 West

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