Rudy Gobert has been named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week for games from Oct. 25 through Oct. 31.

Gobert averaged 16.3 points and 15.5 rebounds per game as the Jazz went 3-1 during that stretch. Utah took down Denver before embarking on its first road trip of the season, securing wins over Houston and Milwaukee.

He started the year with five consecutive double-doubles before finishing with nine points, 13 rebounds, and a season-high four blocks in the victory over the Bucks on Halloween night. 

Gobert is averaging 16.3 points and 17.2 rebounds per game for the season, numbers that far surpass his career highs.

“I’m feeling more and more comfortable,” Gobert said following the season-opening win over Oklahoma City. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work, and it’s exciting to know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I can do offensively.”

While his rebounding numbers are impressive, it’s not a total shock to see that part of his game post such high numbers. At 7-feet tall, Gobert has more than enough strength, length, and size to dominate the glass — something he’s done for the majority of his career.

But it’s his offensive evolution that’s garnering some early MVP talk. 

Gobert is playing through contact much better and finishing more assertively at the rim. He’s also doing a much better job of sealing off smaller defenders in the paint and forcing them to foul him to prevent the easy dunk. 

That’s where the most improvement has come, from his free throw numbers. A career 63.1% from the charity stripe, Gobert is shooting 72% (36-for-50) this season. He already has four games of attempting 8+ free throws.

“When you’re so good at something, they want to just focus solely on that. He’s so good at being a defensive force that people sometimes don’t look at the other side,” fellow all-star and teammate Donovan Mitchell said of Gobert. “He knows what he needs to work on and get better. … He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be able to do certain things. The biggest things we’re seeing is catching and finishing, the playing through contact. … That’s where I’m saying like, ‘okay, he’s taken that next step.'”

As his offensive game continues to evolve, Gobert is proving that his early-season success is no fluke. From a midrange jumper at the free throw line to his euro-step and finish through traffic, Gobert is providing the Jazz with a legitimate post-presence on the offensive end of the court. 

“He did it in the preseason, he did it in training camp, and now I think that’s the level we’re going to see out of him,” Mitchell said.


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