Rudy Gobert must really want the Utah Jazz to finish with a top-four playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Following a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, the Jazz’s third such loss to their likely first-round opponent, Gobert questioned his squad’s competitiveness. Those remarks, per Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune, prompted a team meeting:
The Utah Jazz say they have cleared the air and moved on after a disappointing loss to a potential playoff opponent and some pointed comments from center Rudy Gobert.
“We had a team meeting,” Gobert said at shootaround Monday morning. “We discussed everything. I think it was good to talk to each other.”
“I was just frustrated after the game,” he said. “It was more about the team, about us. We’ve still got a lot of room to get better. When you lose a game that matters a lot sometimes you can be frustrated.”
To be honest, Gobert’s frustration is sort of refreshing. The Jazz don’t skate by, but they’re allowed to be driven down a peg or two because of injuries, the fact they play in a loaded West and because they just clinched their first playoff bid in five years. That Gobert expects so much more from his team is a great thing—particularly when it’s against the team Utah will most likely be squaring off against in the first round.
Could he have delivered his message in a better way? Of course. Phrasing always matters. But his sentiment stands, and it proves that he cares.
That matters, too.