Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Donovan discussed on Open Floor: SI's NBA Show
What's up open floor? Low this is Benghazi with the Washington. Post I am joined on the other line by Michael. The pod Pena of espy nation. Michael we actually have some real drama. I think to dig into on this episode Thank you to everyone. By the way for all those emails about our most overrated people coaches and everything else. We'll dig into your responses. Maybe on another episode Michael. I thought after we've Kinda went on for you. Know an hour plus heaters. We might take a step back from the overrated conversation today. Does that feel wise to you? I guess so I I we. It was a scorched earth that assode. I'm glad it happened but I'm also glad that we're moving on to be honest. I don't believe the last part. I sensed reluctance. In Your Voice. It seems to me like you want to double down on the scorching. My right now. I know I'm a humble guy. Come on Ben Okay. Good well we will try to satisfy your urges by breaking up a superstar partnership today. How's that sound can't wait. I'm sure everyone saw the report that came out from the athletic Last week there was a long detailed story about the Utah Jazz. Their response to rudy go barest positive test and just the madness in the frightening hours And passage of time you know shortly after it. It's a great read. Everyone should check it out. I think the big takeaway pull quote that people saw. I'm sure on social media. Was this idea that the relationship between Rudy Gobert and Donovan. Mitchell at this point is not believed to be salvageable according to one source now Donovan. Mitchell publicly hasn't said much about Rudy. Gobert he did confirm a good morning America interview that he was upset and that it took them a while to kind of get over the initial shock After he found out that he was positive. Of course. There's been lots of questioning of go. Bears Behavior Before we tested positive in terms of touching. All the other microphones just sort of being a little bit reckless and clearly. There's some violated trust there rudy. Gobert said in an interview Sunday with the bleacher report That they had not been talking for a while but they did talk. Recently that the relationship might not be perfect but he felt like both Donovan Mitchell And himself on the same page kind of wanting to win title up for the Jazz so to me. The way I read this is Rudy is doing his best to kind of keep this thing together. He obviously feels bad. He's publicly apologized. He's donated tons of money to corona. Irs Relief Funds. Andy's take public service address messages. He's going above and beyond here to kind of keep things together and I think. The big question is Whereas Donovan Mitchell heads at right. He's publicly on social media all the time you know. Basically he's had a month year to stand up a big time way for Rudy and accept the apology and forgive him and try to bury the hatchet and move forward and he just hasn't done it. Michael let me start by asking you this question do you. Did you think Mitchell would handle this thing differently By now of course it's an extraordinary situation. None of us knows how we would handle it if we're put that exact moment. It is understandable that he would be afraid he'd be angry he would be maybe even irate given the circumstances at just the fear factor around this disease but I guess from Your judgment of him as a person and as a you know a player Have you been surprised how they shook out a little bit? I mean it's a lot of time has passed and for their relationship to quote not be salvageable. It leads me to believe that there's more to the story obviously that we are not been privy to You know I don't even think it can be confirmed whether or not Donovan gave it to rudy or vice versa So it it just seems to me like there's there's more here Maybe there was some sort of personality conflict but long before The the pandemic in this was just kind of what what sprouted everything to the surface and allowed Donovan to feel the sort of way and publicly. Well I guess he did say that. He was a little bit irritating so publicly. Declare how unhappy. He was with his teammates. So I don't I don't know it's it. Seems like if he is still angry at this angry and Rudy's interview with bleacher report. You know he was not very convincing in trying to to quash the beef he acknowledged it as you said it leads me to believe that there's a lot it's a lot worse Then then kind of what has been publicly revealed. So far yeah. I haven't spent a ton of time around either one of these guys with my first impression of both Has Been Positive Really. Seems like a really really Nice Guy I think some people like to you know tend towards. Oh is he a little bit soft or something like that? I mean I just think he's kind of a genuine spirit and I know he's been mocked for the crying and all of that but it seems to me like a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve who plays really hard. Who understands what he's good at and has really maximized his strength on that end who's built up his career here in in the NBA. I mean if you look back where he was before he got here five years ago to where his games at now. It's a remarkable story of self improvement and commitment and I have a lot of respect for how he plays basketball And how he conducts himself given that the League and and the style of play kind of shifting beneath his feet with Donovan Mitchell to me. It's like central casting from a small market franchise player right. I mean huge smile. Great with the fans Very good with the local media You know flashy exciting game Sells lots of jerseys Hit the ground running from day one and to me has always seemed like a pretty likable and fairly low key guy. I haven't ever gotten the sense that there's some gigantic ego raging within him and so when I was trying to kind of sort through this what could be the possible tension points to me. Michael it comes actually back to basketball. I'm not so sure about Personalities they were described as being fairly friendly and in close proximity you know before the testing their lockers near each other and everything else clearly. The two all star players from that franchise I look at basketball and I'm just wondering. Is there a different way to play this thing right? Like if you imagine a scenario where Rudy Gobert is in on the Utah Jazz. And since he was their first they've been building the whole show around him right. And now you're trying to build around Donovan Mitchell to me. It would start to look a lot more like a Houston Rockets Situation Right or a Portland Trailblazers situation where you've that lead guard installed as the main guy and everyone's supporting him so that means you know versatile defender so that he can have a you know a spread court to attack That means you know lots of length on the wings a defensive line Elaine to kind of cover for him so he doesn't have to do as much work on that end and it also means the ball in his hands an awful lot you know. His is just usage rate up shot attempts trips to the free. Throw line up driving kick assists up like I feel like that's sort of the scenario of the jazz that is out there potentially in the not too distant future. If you just take kind of Rudy. Gobert off the court but I think the problem with Rudy Gobert. He's so great at certain things but there are some holes right like his offense is basically entirely dependent and it's entirely paint bound So he's in the way right number one on offense he there's no stretch whatsoever and then defensively when he gets into space we've seen him struggle with like the warriors and the rockets and the playoffs. Where he gets the happy feet guys are hitting pull mid-range jumpers over or again by going to the basket and that becomes a real challenge for them. So I think that just his presence alone such domineering figure that you. Kinda have to build your whole team around on the court and I could understand. They're kind of becoming a natural tension from a basketball standpoint where Donovan Mitchell feels like. He's ready for an organization. He's ready to have everything built around him and then maybe go. Bear isn't an ideal fit around him. If that makes sense and I know we talk about similar things with like embiid and Simmons all the time right. I think those guys get so much attention. Because they're in a bigger market and You know they're they've got some floss their games as well and you can you know they were both like top three picks so there's going to be more attention and scrutiny there but I feel like there could be a similar level of dynamic where you know it works well enough in Utah but it's also pretty easy to imagine a situation where a works better for Donovan Mitchell. And in that situation go bears not on the team. What do you think do you? Are you buying what I'm selling Michael? I get everything that you're saying and we had this conversation a little while ago. I I I kind of disagree with a little bit of it in the sense that usually when there's a star player who's ball dominant like Donovan Mitchell. And he has a teammate. Who is also a star or an all star caliber player? Usually that players skill set is going to be one that steps on his own toes. Someone who also needs the ball someone who wants to run pick and roll and play make and score and all that but really go bear. I I understand everything you're saying about. His inability to stretch and that is a little detrimental in today's League. But he's incredibly low usage ninth on the team. When the season ended he was night on the team in usage does not need the ball does not ask for. The ball does not want to post up. Or maybe he does but he doesn't have any opportunities to and he accepts that role Donovan Mitchell true. Shooting percentage this year is exactly fifty six percent whether rudy go bears on the floor or not and there's a lot of different factors that into that but if you also look at what happened. Last year Mitchell's shooting dropped below fifty percent without go bear on the floor with them so I think bear does help quite a bit just as this. Pick and roll guy who has vertical. Spacing sucks in help defenders Even when you drive to the basket and he rolls the big. His own man usually is petrified of the lob threat so layups or there and Mitchell's field goal percentage around the rim is higher with Rudy. Gobert on the floor for that reason. Usually when there's a big who can't stretch the field goal percentages lesson for guys like Donovan. But in this case it's been higher so in real quick just to add. I mean his gravity also applies to Utah shooters right because of that. Lob Threat like You know you're not you're not maybe rotating as quickly or that guy doesn't WanNa leave go bare and sometimes you're getting a better shots in the corner because go bears on the court It's a little bit counterintuitive But again like I just wonder. Another issue here is pace Now is a fantastic counterargument by you but the jazz are playing like bottom five pace in the league right now. Like if you're imagining dream situation and again this is not necessarily a team. That's GonNa win the most games right. I'm trying to kind of line. This up as the team that makes Donovan Mitchell. The happiest and the richest and the most you know the most attention and most accolades and everything else right. They're not bottom five pace team right. I mean if if you're lead guy is athletic guard who's been in the dunk contest. Who's got handle don't you? You'd play a little bit different stylistically. Maybe I real quick. I want to touch on the defensive end of the floor before I touch on that Everything that you said about Rudy Gobert not being able to switch garden space and and really you know being stuck into this one dimensional aspect where he has to drop on the pick and roll. That is worrisome for share and we saw him get sliced up. But if you talk to just about any wing defender. Who's on a team with someone who is elite at Rim protection like go bear or embiid or any of these guys? They love playing with a player like that like he is a safety net right behind them if they get beat. They're not worried he makes them look good. So just looking at it from the lens of us where we are seeing shifting league and The aesthetic that's that's that's evolving and how detrimental Rudy Gobert can be in a playoff setting. If you're a player you really from my sense of just talking guys around the league. It's really not that Pronounced that makes any sense. No look I'm not trying to bag on this guy. I think he's a great player. I mean he's a two-time player of the year for the reason For a reason what I'm saying is if your ceiling is capped out as a second round playoff team or close to it like maybe you're getting really lucky and making a conference finals It's a situation where again. Okay like. He's been a huge help to us. But we're never going to get over the hump with them. So what is the cost of losing him right like maybe we step back in the short term but can we get billed back to a level and maybe the whole thing looks different and maybe Mitchell is happy and get back to the same level that you're at currently like to me? A ritual go bears at classic player. Who raises your floor but your ceiling still kind of low on it right Little Bit of like A. Marta rose. Five Back in Toronto. And so I can understand why his teammates would love him. I understand why the organization would can't campaign form for defensive player of the year every year. I would understand That you know he's unselfish like you're mentioning and that definitely goes a long way with one of your main stars doesn't need to have the rock and isn't demanding things and is willing to do all the dirty work that's a huge plus in it's really really hard to find and I think that's why there'd be a lot of interest in Rudy Gobert around the league..