• Adam Bushman

3 Things We Learned About Rudy from FIBA

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Rudy Gobert showed his physicality, need for the ball, and one-man defense ability during the FIBA World Cup

Rudy Gobert and France took bronze in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

The FIBA tournament was full of mixed emotions for Jazz fans.

Team France was no exception.

Following a dominant, disqualifying win over USA, France saw a real possibility at winning the cup. It took the ghost of Luis Scola and terrible 3-point shooting from France to miss out on a chance at gold.

France bested Australia to receive the bronze metal and be the only team with a Jazz player present to leave China with hardware.

Rudy was France’s best player and proved to be the face of the program. He showed out in the tournament and taught fans a lot about the kind of player he is.

Here are three things we learned about Rudy during his run with France.

Rudy Likes the FIBA Rules

Rudy is a monster in the NBA paint ranking 6th in REB% and 3rd in BLK% over the past three seasons. But he could be even better with international play rules.

International play dictates that when a shot leaves the rim it is fair game for a rebound and subsequent shot. This differs from the NBA where a shot must leave the rim and be located outside of the cylinder.

With rules such as these in the NBA, Rudy could be that much more of a terror on the boards.

Rudy is also the best screening big man in the NBA. Last year Rudy led the league in screen assists and points scored off of said screens.

International play is inherently more physical than that of the NBA. When squaring off against Italy, Rudy flattened his opponent with a screen that quickly turned the game into a 5x4 for a brief period.

Rudy could certainly embrace this physical style of play in the NBA and have tremendous success.

Rudy Needs the Ball

Rudy Gobert set a personal best for FGA per 36 min last season with 9.9, which led to a career high Points per 36 min of 17.9.

Out of the eight non-exhibition games France played, only once did he match or exceed this FGA average of last season. It resulted in a 13.9 Points per 36 min average

during the FIBA.

France was unable to score when it mattered. With Rudy’s efficiency of 67 FG% last season and 63% in the tournament, he should have had a much higher usage and role in France’s offense.

The two games in which Rudy was force fed the ball, he scored a per 36 min average of 24.2 points. He also took six FTA against Jordan and ten against the US.

Both Rudy and the team are worse off when the ball isn’t in his hands diving to the rim.

Rudy Is a One-man Defense

One of the big questions surrounding the 2019-20 Utah Jazz is if the defense will hold up despite losing Favors, Rubio, and Crowder.

The answer really depends on how incredible is Rudy Gobert. A look at France in this year’s FIBA may give some insight into how they’ll do.

Five players outside of Rudy have logged NBA minutes. In those minutes, their Defensive Box Plus-Minus (DBPM) numbers have been the following:

Fournier -1.7, Batum +1.0, De Colo +0.9, Ntilikina -0.7, and Toupane -1.1. That’s a rough average of -1.6. Rudy Gobert truly carried France to one of the better defenses in the tournament.

The average of last year’s DBPM for Utah’s top seven players next year sans Gobert results in +0.3.

While far from perfect, this illustrates how Rudy carried France’s defense to success despite a lackluster defensive group around him.

Rudy truly is a one-man defense and we shouldn’t be at all worried about their prospects as a top defense for the 2019-20 season.

Gobert will return to Utah in the coming weeks ready to go for the season. With a medal around his neck boasting his abilities throughout the tournament, Rudy will look to transfer everything he’s learned in FIBA to the NBA and be even more dominate this time around.

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