Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert is on pace for a career-best season

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

After a 2017-18 season filled with injuries, Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert is back to being healthy and is on pace for a career-best year.

The young five-year career of Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert has already been one filled with ups and downs.

For the promising and talented big man, one who is viewed as one of the top defensive forces in the entire NBA, Gobert’s biggest downfall to being a constant dominant presence has usually been due to injuries he’s had to battle in his tenure in Salt Lake City.

One example of these struggles came a season ago, when Gobert appeared in a total of 56 games for the Jazz, battling multiple knee injuries that sidelined him for weeks at a time.

Those injuries certainly factored into Utah getting off to a slower start in the 2017-18 campaign, only to see things turn around once the 26-year-old center returned to the lineup.

When he was on the court for the Jazz, Gobert was back to helping lead Utah to an impressive second-half run that landed it a spot in the postseason. He eventually went on to be named the 2017-18 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Defensive First Team honors. But his struggles with staying on the floor were reason for concern for many.

So far in the 2018-19 season, Gobert looks like he’s back to being healthy, building off a strong stretch he put together at the end of last season.

Through 34 games, Gobert has played and started in all of those games for Utah and is having a stellar start to the year — so much so that he’s enjoying himself a career-best year as he embarks on the sixth season of his NBA career.

Gobert is averaging a career-high 14.6 points per game this season, second on the team behind only Donovan Mitchell, who leads the Jazz with 20.2 points per game.

Along with recording a career-best mark in scoring thus far, he is shooting 64.9 percent from the field (which ranks second-best in his career), along with averaging 12.3 rebounds (second-most in his career), 1.9 assists (career-high), 0.9 steals (career-high) and 2.0 blocks per game.

Maybe the most impressive — and for Utah, the most important — part about Gobert enjoying a career-best year is that he averaging 31 minutes per game, which is his lowest output since his second year in the league.

Limiting his minutes while keeping his level of play the same will hopefully help Gobert and the Jazz sustain this level of play as the season progresses.

Gobert has been an important piece for the Jazz throughout his six-year career in the NBA, especially as a force and anchor on the defensive end of the floor.

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The fact that he’s putting together a career-best year as we near the halfway mark in the 2018-19 season is a big key for Utah. But more notably, his ability to stay healthy and fend off the injury bug so far this season is even more important for the Jazz.