Off-peak times oblige, TrashTalk has taken the habit each summer of making you relive with emotion the greatest moments of the past season. Even in 2021, moreover, despite a summer that had then put all of our vital forces in PLS, but that’s another story. So we go back to our good old formula, we take a few steps back, a few months, and we remember that this 2021-22 season was crazy, from the first day to the last. Today ? Make way for a global flashback, which looks back on Rudy Gobert’s record season on the rebound.
If Rudy Gobert had to concede his title of best NBA defender to Marcus Smart, it does not mean that he ended the 2021-22 season empty-handed. On the contrary, he took the opportunity to add a line that he did not yet have on his already well-stocked CV: best NBA rebounder, a first for a Frenchman. Yes, last year, it was Rudy who finished at the top of this ranking with no less than 14.7 rebounds per night. A record average for him given that he had never exceeded 13.5 in his career, and an average that also allowed him to finish second in the League in total number of rebounds (968) despite… sixteen games of absence. Just for the record, the man who finished in second place behind Rudy Gobert is called Nikola Jokic, with an average of 13.8 rebounds, that is to say practically one less take each game. Translation, the hero of Saint-Quentin did not quite evolve on the same planet as the other NBA players in this game sector.
In short, you have understood that La Gobe has really not been idle. Among his craziest performances? Four games with 21 rebounds (including the first of the regular season against the Thunder, a sacred preview of things to come), five games with 20, and 33 games with at least 15 takes. It’s very serious and borderline we were shocked when Rudy did not finish a game with at least 10 rebounds (it happened six times in 66 games, shameful Rudy). So certainly he did not manage to approach his career high in one evening (28 in March 2021 against the Warriors) but the regularity with which he dominated the paint game after game was quite scary. We do not say it enough, the rebound is an integral part of the defense because it is what makes it possible to put an end to an opposing offensive possession, and no one in the NBA has managed to do better than Gobert (11 defensive rebounds in average) in this sector last year. For the record, the blue-white-red pivot even took the opportunity to settle in the second position of the best all-time rebounders in the Jazz, far behind Karl Malone but just ahead of his former mentor Mark Eaton (peace to his soul ).
His total rebounds with Utah will now remain stuck at 7,119 since Rudy will evolve under other skies next season. Gobert did not survive the new premature elimination of Jazz in the Playoffs, symbolic of a campaign filled with ups and downs and during which Rudy too often had to hide the defensive limits of the Mormons. Now in Minnesota where he was transferred a few weeks ago against a huge draft capital, the three-time All-Star, six-time member of the All-NBA Defensive First Team and top rebounder in the League will be keen to bring his huge qualities to a team on the rise. It promises !
With the attacking talent of Karl-Anthony Towns, the explosiveness of Anthony Edwards, and the expected impact of Rudy Gobert in his own paint, Wolves have plenty to think about for years to come. How high can they go? Hard to say but what is certain is that the Gobe will fulfill its part of the contract in the racket. Like always.