That doesn’t mean Gobert has no influence on the team. Rudy Gobert fed tips for guarding Marcin Gortat to Ekpe Udoh, who had his best game of the season, throughout Utah’s win over the Wizards. He answered questions for rookie Tony Bradley on the bench. He stood in the huddle for timeouts. “He’ll share some of his wisdom with me in a game,” Udoh said. “Just defensively, the players he’s played against throughout the game, possession after possession.” He’s still there, and so is his intensity. And even though the Jazz miss his play, they’ll take whatever he has to offer now — and hope there’s still more to come in the second half of the season. “I think that’s the biggest deal — he’s continuing to be vocal,” Donovan Mitchell said. “That’s what’s awesome about having a guy like that who’s still a leader, who doesn’t lose it. It’s tough. He understands his presence. There’s a large gap when he’s out. But continuing to be that leader is good.”
January 20, 2018 | 7:42 am EST Update
Marc Stein: There is a growing belief in league personnel circles that Utah could move swingman Rodney Hood before the Feb. 8 trade deadline … with multiple teams expressing interest
Sources also said the Cavs’ needs are a guard who can shoot and handle the ball, and, secondly, a rim protector. Separately, coach Tyronn Lue and players have said the team’s struggles this month can be pinned on a lack of continuity from the return of players like Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson from injuries.
Joe Vardon: Everyone wants to know if the Cavs would trade the pick, and there’s been much speculation that Cleveland would not, in fact, make a deal involving it. That’s not true, league sources have told me. The Cavs would consider trading it if the right player were available — a player who’s either elite or who has the potential to become elite and is signed for multiple years. That player may not be available. Paul George and the Thunder are getting it together. The Pelicans are playing better with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Cavs need a player who can dribble and shoot (sounds simple, but I’m serious), and after that, maybe a rim protector.
“Young Trey Burke was not all the way focused on basketball,’’ Burke said before the Knicks beat the Jazz 117-115. “Distractions going on in my life as a young player. “At the same time, I do feel I did a great job my rookie season. Second year, they drafted another point guard [Exum] — which kind of messed with my mind. It played with me a little bit. That’s where it went wrong. My rookie season the coach [Tyrone Corbin] gets fired. Going into the second year, it’s a whole new coaching staff to get used to. Sometimes it don’t work out.’’
Gina Mizell: Will Barton on the #Nuggets’ effort level: “Shots aren’t always gonna go in, but you can always play hard. We’re not doing that enough. We pick and choose when we want to play hard, and we can’t do that. We’re not good enough to do that.”
Rockets guard Chris Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players’ Association, would not share his position or the union’s on the idea of having the draft of All-Star teams to be made by captains Steph Curry and LeBron James public. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been opposed, despite the clamoring to have the selections Asked if he expressed his opinion, Paul said, “Yup.” Asked if he would share what he said, Paul said, “Nope.”