Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert is considered one of the most impressive defenders in the league, but he also boasts an elite offensive skill set.
With his 7-foot-9 wingspan, even if he is mostly known as a defensive stopper and a rim protector, he has used his size and long arms to throw down dunks at a record-setting pace without requiring much of a vertical leap to reach the hoop.
Gobert has connected on a career-best 71.6 percent of his opportunities in the restricted area. The French-born big also leads the league with 275 dunks for the Jazz this season, per Basketball-Reference. That breaks the record set by Dwight Howard in 2008. They began tracking this data in 2000.
His teammate, Donovan Mitchell, averages 0.7 assists per game to the center, finding him for 3.9 passes per game. This week, the sophomore discussed his role as a playmaker for Gobert (via The Salt Lake Tribune):
“We try to find him as much as possible. I know I’ve worked a lot at that, just trying to find him and make sure I’m making the right plays, making the right reads. It’s paid off.”
Considering that he has had 306 total dunk attempts, Gobert has connected on 89.9 percent of his slams this season. Four out of five of them have been assisted while one out of every three has been an alley-oop, including the record-breaking dunk (which was the result of a pass from Mitchell).
He ranks No. 1 overall with 329 points scored on cuts to the basket, No. 6 overall with 322 points scored as the roll man on pick-and-roll possessions and No. 2 overall with 258 points scored from offensive rebound putbacks. It is clear that not all of these led to dunks. but it shows how terrific he has been as a rim finisher.
The big man has averaged 1.40 points per possession on attempts near the basket that were not post-ups. That ranks in the 94th percentile among all players, per Synergy. He has scored 10.2 points per game this way, which is the third-most in the league.
According to Cleaning the Glass, nine out of 10 field goal attempts from the French-born star have come within four feet of the basket. He has attempted just 47 field goals (0.63 FGA/game) from beyond five feet of the basket. Even if the opposition knows what he’s going to do, slowing him down is the difficult part.