• Sam Gillies

Utah’s All-Star Duo Finally Receiving the Recognition They Deserve

Updated: Feb 12

It was a long-time coming, but Jazzman Rudy Gobert has made the All-Star game, and he's got Donovan Mitchell at his side

Rudy and Donovan are headed to the All-Star game in Chicago hoping to put on a show

For the first time in 20 years, the Utah Jazz will be sending two All-Stars to the much anticipated NBA All-Star game.

The Jazz also had two All-Stars in 2007 with Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, however, Okur was replacing an injured player and didn’t make the team with traditional voting.

This past week, we learned that Western Conference coaches voted Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell to be 2020 All-Stars. They will represent the Jazz at the game on February 16th in Chicago.

The last time the Jazz had two players selected in the same year was in 2000 when a couple of legends, John Stockton and Karl Malone (now statues outside of Vivint SmartHome Arena), were selected. When most fans in the state of Utah think of legendary duos, more often than not Stockton and Malone are their first thought.

Two decades later, it is a new era in Salt Lake City, and it will be Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell carrying the torch in Chicago

for their first All-Star game.

For Rudy Gobert, this type of recognition has been a long time coming.

Many people remember last season when he got emotional and abruptly exited an interview after being asked about his then All-Star ‘snub.’ This season, the seventh year center has finally received validation.

“When I was a kid, when I said I was going to be a professional player, people were laughing at me," Gobert said. "Then when I said I was going to be in the NBA, people were laughing at me. Same when I said I was going to be an All-Star ... When I look back ... all the things that I've been through as a person, it's pretty amazing to be there today."

There was little logical that could have swayed coaches from selecting him this season. He is coming off of two straight Defensive Player of the Year Award seasons and continues to be a defensive force on that side of the ball, averaging 2.0 blocks and 14.5 rebounds per game.

His offensive game has significantly improved over the course of his career. He is currently averaging 15.6 points per game on 68% shooting, the highest field goal percentage in the NBA. Along with his shooting, he has made life easier for everyone else on the team with his league leading 7.8 screen assists per game.

Everything about what Gobert has done this season has made life easier for everyone else on the team both from an offensive and defensive standpoint.

As for Donovan Mitchell, the path to the All-Star game has been much different from Gobert.

Mitchell made an impact on this team and the rest of the NBA right from the get-go. His

progression and skill level have far exceeded what many predicted when the Louisville guard was drafted in 2017.

The recently named All-Star has been averaging 24.6 points per game on 46% shooting, dishing out 4.3 assists per game, while grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game as well.

Through three years in the NBA, it has become very apparent that Mitchell has really improved his decision making. Instead of trying to take on the rest of the league by himself, he is trusting teammates by getting them involved early, yet won't hesitate to take over late in games to help the Jazz win.

Donovan Mitchell isn’t necessarily a stat-stuffer. He is a winner.

The third-year guard learned he was an All-Star this past Thursday when reading a letter

from his mom. Becoming an NBA All-Star is something that Mitchell had at one point not even thought possible.

“I didn’t expect to be in the NBA,” Mitchell said. “To not only be here but to be on a team like this, to be an All-Star and to represent my team with Rudy is such a blessing.”

As made clear from his mother's letter, Donovan Mitchell has put in the

work and deserves to be in this game.

Having two all-stars can only mean positive things for the Jazz as an organization.

It will specifically help recruiting free agents in the off season. When players - especially experienced veterans and solid role players - see that a franchise has two all-stars and are poised for an opportunity to win a championship, they will have a stronger desire to come in and play for that type of team.

Dwight Howard in Los Angeles is a prime example.

The Lakers had proven stars in Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Howard saw an opportunity to come in, turn his career around, and possibly win a championship. Having a pair of All-Stars will only help attract other big name free agents to come and help the Jazz win.

While All-Star nods and awards are great, both Donovan and Rudy know that all they really want is to be the last team standing in June.

“As a kid, obviously you want to be an All-Star,” Gobert said. "... but it’s all about winning a championship ... at the end of the day the goal is to keep playing until June and try to get to the Finals and try to get a ring.”

Mitchell restated those sentiments: “The goal is a championship ... What’s next for us is a

championship, and you can ask everybody in the organization and in the city and they’ll tell you

what’s next.”

So as we roll into All-Star Weekend and the final stretch of the season, prepare yourself Jazz

fans because there is only one thing on our

All-Stars' mind:

A Larry O’Brien trophy in the streets of Salt Lake City.

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