Rudy Gobert wasn’t real thrilled about Dion Waiters crashing into his knees Friday night, calling it a “dirty play” and implying that the move was intentional. Well, if it was intentional, it seems to have hit its mark:
The Jazz have the third best defense in the NBA by points per possession, per NBA stats, largely because of Gobert’s ridiculous rim-protecting prowess. And they need their defense, badly, because their offense, featuring waaaay too many Ricky Rubio jumpers and improvised Donovan Mitchell sequences, is fourth worst in the league.
Gobert was able to return to the game Friday night after it was determined he’d suffered no ligament damage, but he was forced to miss Utah’s game Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, and will now be on the shelf for at least a month. The Jazz are sitting at 6-7, a part of the jumble of also-rans expected to compete for the last few playoff spots in the West. Gobert gives the Jazz their identity—without him, they’re a plodding, low-wattage offense without any particular interior defensive oomph. This injury represents a massive, devastating loss.