Rudy Gobert's case as All-Star 'self-evident,' Quin Snyder says

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert can count on Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle's vote for All-Star reserves.

"In my opinion, he is," Carlisle said of Gobert after the player's dominant's performance in the Jazz's 112-107 win over the Mavs on Saturday.

Gobert had 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting with 17 rebounds and five blocks, including a rejection of guard Delon Wright's driving layup attempt with 24.8 seconds remaining to essentially seal the game.

It's somewhat of a sensitive subject around the Jazz because Gobert, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time All-NBA selection, took his snub last season so hard. He broke down in tears during a news conference the day after reserves were announced, recalling how hurt his mother was when she heard the news that Gobert was denied his first All-Star berth.

The Jazz also believe that any debate on the subject this season is ludicrous.

"To be honest, to me, it's one of those things that's just self-evident," said Jazz coach Quin Snyder, whose team has won 19 of its past 21 games to soar into second place in the Western Conference standings. "It's [about] the things that he does to help his team win."

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell laughed when asked to make a case for Gobert.

"Man, did you watch the game?" Mitchell said. "That's him, on both ends. He's an All-Star, and I think nights like tonight show it."

Mitchell, who is averaging a team-high 24.7 points and 4.3 assists per game, is also a strong candidate to be a first-time All-Star.

"Are they All-Stars? Absolutely," Jazz forward Joe Ingles said. "Both of them are. Obviously, I'm biased, but it's clear to me. It's such an obvious thing. Our team isn't our team without those two. Our record [32-13] isn't our record without those two. They're the ones that open it up for everyone else."

Gobert is averaging 15.7 points per game while leading the league in field goal percentage (68.3%), ranking second in rebounds (14.5) and ranking sixth in blocks (2.0). He also ranks fifth in the league in raw plus-minus (plus-344), including the Jazz's outscoring opponents by 284 points with Gobert on the floor during their 19-2 run.

The Jazz outscore opponents by 11.5 points per 100 possessions with Gobert on the floor, compared with a minus-5.5 net rating when he rests.

Gobert continued his clutch dominance Saturday, when his tip-in with 1:02 remaining gave the Jazz the lead for good and his block on Wright preserved it. According to NBA.com's stats, Gobert has the league's best plus-minus (plus-73) in clutch situations, defined as the score being within five points in the final five minutes of regulation or overtime. He also leads the league in clutch field goal percentage (81.8%, minimum 10 attempts) and rebounds (41) and ranks second in clutch blocks (10).

Gobert's block on Wright's drive was an example of a key area of his game that has improved significantly, as it came in an isolation situation after the Mavs forced him to switch. The 7-foot-1 Gobert got dunked on Saturday by Kristaps Porzingis on an isolation, but he swatted Porzingis' layup on an isolation the next possession and also rejected Luka Doncic and Wright after one-on-one drives.

"He's probably going to be Defensive Player of the Year again," Carlisle said of Gobert, who won the honor the past two seasons. "He impacts the game massively at the defensive end. He doesn't just do it around the basket. He does it on the perimeter, too, on switches. He does a great job of spacing guys when they drive. We were able to score on a couple of drives on him, but the play he made on Wright's drive at the end of the game was an amazing play. Look, he's a great, great defensive player."

As Mitchell said, "Five blocks tonight against a team that has a popping big, being able to guard 1 through 5. Really ain't much else to say."

Gobert, who has a bonus clause in his contract that would award him $1 million for an All-Star selection, isn't interested in lobbying on his own behalf.

"I've decided to not even think about it like that," Gobert said. "I really decided to control what I can control. How can I help my team win every night? And how can I keep getting better? I think you [can] put too much energy in some things. People have different opinions on how different guys help a team. There's a lot of different factors that come into that. After what happened last year, when I really thought I was making it, I just try to focus on my team and try to get a championship."