Rudy Gobert

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Toughness

Jazz All-Star point guard Mike Conley made his first appearance in the second-round series against the Clippers in Game 6. Conley admitted after the Jazz were eliminated on Friday that he was far from 100% due his hamstring tightness, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

“Initially, I was told I wasn’t going to be able to play at all this series, just last Friday,” Conley said. “This maybe being the last game of the season, I had to give it a try. But I couldn’t move well. It was a tough night.”

Conley, an unrestricted free agent this summer, scored just five points on 1-for-8 shooting and committed six turnovers in the 131-119 loss.

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  • Conley’s backcourt partner, Donovan Mitchell, was also a game-time decision due to an ankle injury. Mitchell poured in 39 points and nine assists but his 40-minute stint was painful in more ways than one, Walden tweets“It (bleeping) hurt. Just tried to play through it. … I was just trying to find a way, by any means necessary,” he said.
  • Losing the last four games of the series and squandering a 25-point lead in Game 6 will haunt Mitchell, Walden adds in another tweet. “I’m still in shock. … I don’t know what I’m going to be doing next week,” he said. “Probably watching the games, mad as hell. This hurts more than last year. This is going to eat at me for a long time.” However, Mitchell isn’t blaming the coaching staff for the collapse, according to Walden (Twitter link). “The coaches made great adjustments. And we just didn’t execute,” he said. “That’s on the players on the floor.”
  • Rudy Gobert believes the tougher team won the series, Walden relays (Twitter link). “They were the tougher team over the course of the series, more connected over the course of the series,” he said of the Clippers. “For us, it’s pretty much the story of our season. For us to take another step in the playoffs, a lot of things are gonna have to be better.”
  • Picking up on Gobert’s theme, Tony Jones of The Athletic opines that the Jazz are probably not near a championship-level team despite having the league’s best record. Playing without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers turned up the intensity in the second half of Game 6 and the Jazz failed to match their physicality and got out-hustled.

NBA Announces 2020/2021 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2020/21 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way as the lone unanimous selection for the First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Nuggets‘ MVP Nikola Jokic were the two top vote-getters, combining for 998 out of a possible 1,000 points, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry following shortly behind. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounding out the top five.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (69), Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (44), Nets guard James Harden (41), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (37) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (32). A total of 12 other players received votes. The full results can be found here.

Today’s announcement has major financial implications across the league. Tatum, who received more votes than Kyrie Irving but still fell 20 votes short of a final forward spot, will lose out on a projected $32.6MM on his rookie scale extension, as his next deal will start at 25% of the cap instead of the 30% he would have received if he’d been named to an All-NBA team. Likewise, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Adebayo will all receive starting salaries worth 25% of the cap on their respective extensions as a result of missing out on All-NBA honors.

Doncic, having been named to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team, will be eligible for a 30% extension that would be worth a projected $201MM+ and is almost certain to be offered this summer. Doncic has previously made clear his intentions to sign the extension when offered. It will go into effect for the 2022/23 season.

Embiid is now eligible for a super-max contract extension, which would run for four years, starting in 2023/24, and would be worth a projected $191MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It’s unclear whether the Sixers will immediately put this extension on the table this offseason.

Bradley Beal‘s deal will not change with his first career All-NBA selection, as he is already eligible for a 35% contract extension on his next deal. Jokic, having been named MVP previously this week, also sees no change in his possible future super-max extension, which will be worth approximately $241MM.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our poll. Devin Booker, Adebayo, and Tatum were your picks who didn’t make the official list.

NBA All-Defensive Teams Announced

The NBA has officially announced the voting results for its two 2020/21 All-Defensive teams.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons, and Sixers guard Ben Simmons were unanimous selections for the All-Defensive First Team. Both players made the First Team lists of all 100 tallied ballots, for a perfect total of 200 points. Votes are given to 100 media members.

This marks Gobert’s fifth straight appearance on the All-Defensive First Team, and the second consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Simmons.

Warriors forward Draymond Green garnered 176 points (including 80 First Team votes). Green was named Defensive Player of the Year in the 2016/17 season. This year’s nod is his fourth First Team honor, and his sixth total All-Defensive team.

Two Bucks players rounded out the All-Defensive First Team this season. Guard Jrue Holiday netted 157 points (65 First Team) and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, earned 135 total points (43 First Team). Antetokounmpo has just made his third straight All-Defensive First Team, and his fourth All-Defensive team overall. This is Holiday’s second All-Defensive First Team appearance and his third overall All-Defensive team.

[RELATED: Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Two All-Defensive First-Teamers have unlocked contract bonuses associated with the honor. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that Gobert will receive a $500K bonus for the inclusion this season. Marks adds (Twitter link) that Holiday will pocket a cool $100K for making All-Defensive First Team. Holiday has other contract incentives associated with his team’s further postseason advancement.

The All-Defensive Second Team honorees are led by Heat stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who each netted 111 points (37 First Team votes) apiece. Adebayo makes his second All-Defensive Second Team with the nod today. This is Butler’s fifth such honor.

Simmons’s Sixers teammates Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle also make the cut. It is the third All-Defensive team nod for Embiid and the first appearance for Thybulle. Clippers All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, rounds out the All-Defensive Second Team this season.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Suns guard/forward Mikal Bridges, Hawks center Clint Capela, and Pacers forward/center Myles Turner were among the highest vote-getters who missed the cut for the Second Team. You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Clarkson

Mike Conley is listed as questionable for Saturday’s Game 3 of the Jazz’s second-round series against the Clippers, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Conley suffered a right hamstring strain in the series finale against the Grizzlies on June 2nd. The Jazz have used a three-guard rotation of Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson in his absence while winning the first two games of the series.

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  • Mitchell tweaked his right ankle in the closing seconds of Game 2 but he says he’ll be ready to go on Saturday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. Mitchell missed Utah’s playoff opener with a right ankle sprain, the only game the Jazz have lost in this postseason. “I got hit and it hurt, but I’m fine now,” Mitchell said. “I walked in here (to the interview room). If you want me to sprint for you, I can. I’m good.”
  • Rudy Gobert won his third Defensive Player of the Year award and he says that being an elite defender requires plenty of dedication, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. “It takes relentless dedication every day,” Gobert said. “In this league, we have so many games, being able to stay healthy and being able to stay strong, being able to try to bring it every single night for my team, it’s a challenge. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication and things that people don’t see.”
  • Clarkson is averaging 21 points in the series and he’s victimizing his former mentor, Joe Vardon of The Athletic notes. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was Clarkson’s coach in Cleveland during the 2017/18 season. “He talked to me about all of this, how to carry yourself in the playoffs, how to move in the playoffs, what to do, finding a routine,” Clarkson said of Lue. “It’s strictly competing, but seeing him over there, that’s somebody you care about before he was doing that. Ty Lue has always been talking to me, texting me, he’s been in my ear even before he was in Cleveland.”

Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year

Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been selected as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. This is the third DPOY honor for Gobert, who also won the award in 2018 and 2019.

During his eight NBA seasons, Gobert has established himself as one of the league’s best shot blockers. He averaged a career-best 2.7 rejections per game this season and ranked first in a number of defensive analytics stats, including defensive real plus-minus and defensive RAPTOR, by a wide margin.

“It takes team effort, mental toughness, hard work and dedication,” Gobert told Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). “Every day you have to come in with a mindset to make your team better on that end.”

Gobert received 84 first-place votes, along with 14 for second place and two for third place for an overall total of 464 points, the NBA announced in its official press release.

The SixersBen Simmons was second with 15/67/11 and 287 points, followed by the WarriorsDraymond Green with 0/13/37 and 76 points. The other first-place vote went to Bam Adebayo of the Heat, who came in fourth.

Eight other players received at least one DPOY vote, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Clint Capela, Joel Embiid, and Jrue Holiday. Perhaps the most unexpected vote belonged to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was placed third on one ballot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Arena Capacity

Jazz guard Mike Conley exited game five of Utah’s series against the Grizzlies due to right hamstring soreness after playing just 12 minutes. But despite being frustrated by the setback, he feels confident he’ll be back in round two, whether against the Clippers or Mavericks, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News.

It’s playoffs, so my mindset is I’ll be ready to play,” Conley said. “We’re gonna just see what happens in next few days and be smart about how we approach it going into this next series.”

Conley bounced back from a rocky first season in Utah, in which he was dealing with a similar hamstring ailment, and had averaged 20 points and over 10 assists per game in the first four games of the series. With at least four days between the end of the Grizzlies series and the start of round two, the Jazz can afford to be cautious.

The veteran point guard was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • When Donovan Mitchell went down with an ankle injury on April 16, he channeled his frustration by diving back into preparing for the playoffs in the same way he did during the Orlando bubble from last year, reports ESPN’s Jackie McMullan. One person who was crucial to his preparations for this year’s playoffs was new minority owner Dwyane Wade, who has served as a mentor figure for Mitchell for years. “You are trying to attack from so many different angles, but you can attack it from one angle if you are patient,” Wade counseled.
  • Rudy Gobert sits down with Shams Charania of Stadium to discuss being a number one seed, championship expectations, and playing with Mitchell. “Every year we had to earn, and earn, and earn the respect as a team, and earn every single win, and you know, we’re still going to have to earn this championship and you know, the story will be amazing,” Gobert said.
  • The Jazz announced Thursday morning that they’ll be increasing attendance at Vivint Arena to its full 18,306 person capacity for round two of the playoffs, the largest NBA crowd of any game this season, writes Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. The arena will limit some lower bowl attendance around the team benches, but will make up for it with increased standing room only capacity. Masks will still be mandatory.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Gobert, Malone, Trail Blazers

Mike Conley turned in a vintage performance Saturday night in his first road playoff game at Memphis, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. The veteran point guard made it a memorable homecoming with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds as the Jazz pulled out a Game 3 victory.

Conley spent 12 years with the Grizzlies and was a fan favorite before being traded to Utah in 2019. This first-round series has him battling with second-year guard Ja Morant, who has become the new face of the franchise.

“It’s amazing to be playing against a guy like Ja, first off,” Conley said. “Just seeing a guy that’s so talented, he’s a young superstar in the league, wearing the jersey that I’m so used to wearing. Getting the cheers from the crowd that I’m so used to hearing. It’s surreal. It’s like full circle. You never thought that it would be this way. I never did, at least. It’s like sometimes you live long enough to become the villain, and I’ve become that for the Memphis Grizzlies now.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rudy Gobert was thinking of Mark Eaton after Saturday’s win, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Eaton, a former Jazz center and shot-blocking specialist, died Friday at age 64. “I know that if he was here I would have got a text after the game saying, ‘Way to protect the paint, big guy,’” Gobert said.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone called out his team — and especially his starters — after a lopsided loss to Portland in Saturday’s Game 4, writes Royce Young of ESPN. With a chance to go up 3-1 in the series, Denver came out flat and never seriously challenged the Trail Blazers. The Nuggets’ starting unit was outscored 49-26 when it was on the floor and shot 30% from the field while Portland was making 65% of its shots. “Our starters were awful,” Malone said. “I thought we had some guys that were tentative, that looked a little scared, who played soft … we’re going to have to be a lot better going home.” He later added, “I can’t believe we’re actually talking about playing hard in a playoff game. That should be a given.”
  • With the Trail Blazers’ season hanging in the balance, Jusuf Nurkic and Norman Powell both came into Saturday’s game with something to prove, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Nurkic was upset over disparaging comments about his defense, while Powell wanted to show he could be the difference maker Portland expected when it acquired him at the trade deadline.

Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Daigneault, Gobert, Wolves

With Jamal Murray sidelined, Michael Porter Jr. will be the No. 2 option for the Nuggets in the playoffs alongside likely Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic. Porter is looking forward to showcasing the growth of his game on the big stage, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

“I’m welcoming it, I’m embracing it,” Porter said. “It’s where I wanted to be. Progressing, taking a jump. I want to take a jump every year, I’m never going to be content. … I’m excited to see what teams throw at me, and how I’m going to overcome those situations.”

Porter is eligible for a rookie scale extension prior to next season.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder GM Sam Presti was impressed by the performance of first-year coach Mark Daigneault during a rebuilding season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets“I think he did an excellent job … There was a significant amount of adjustments he had to make,” Presti said.
  • Rudy Gobert only missed one game this season and his impact on the Jazz is undeniable, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Gobert led the league in total plus-minus at plus-728 and ranked first in the NBA in defensive rating (100.6), defensive win shares (5.2) and total blocks (190). “When you look at other players in the league, his impact is at the highest level,” coach Quin Snyder said.
  • The Timberwolves have a solid starting five, regardless of how the draft lottery shakes out, Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star Tribune writes. They also have some good young pieces on the bench and therefore they don’t need saviors, just more experience and growth, Souhan adds.

Finalists For Major 2020/21 NBA Awards Announced

During a TNT broadcast ahead of tonight’s Wizards-Pacers play-in matchup, the finalists for six big end-of-season 2020/21 awards were announced. Here is the full list, as voted on by reporters.

NBA Most Valuable Player:

NBA Defensive Player of the Year:

NBA Rookie of the Year:

NBA Most Improved Player:

NBA Sixth Man of the Year:

NBA Coach of the Year:

  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
  • Monty Williams (Suns)

Some of these current contenders are familiar with the hardware they’re up for again. Curry is a two-time MVP, having won the award previously in 2015 and 2016. Gobert and Green have both previously won Defensive Player of the Year awards — Green in 2017 and Gobert in 2018 and 2019. Thibodeau was voted Coach of the Year a decade ago while with the Bulls.

The winners for the awards will be announced during the 2020/21 NBA playoffs.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Rosas, Pokusevski, Gobert

Jazz All-Star point guard Mike Conley enjoyed a solid comeback game after missing nine contests with a sore right hamstring, writes Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. In what amounted to a playoff tune-up game for Conley, an unrestricted free agent this summer, he scored 10 points in just 16 minutes during the first half of a 109-93 victory against the Thunder. Conley, 33, could be in line for one last big multiyear payday thanks to his stellar season in Utah.

“It was great to have him back,” Conley’s All-Star Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert said. “I feel like he was quick, he was making the right decisions. Obviously, he didn’t play the second half, but I thought in the first half, he really gave us a lift. That’s what we expect him to do. He’ll find his rhythm and hopefully get back to the level that he is comfortable playing [at]. If he plays the way he played tonight every night, I’m totally fine with that.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves team president Gersson Rosas is confident that he is building a long-term winner in Minnesota, writes Chris Hine of the Star Tribune“We’ve had what we’ve had the last two years for whatever reasons there are,” Rosas said. “Things we can control, things we can’t control, and our record is what it is and that’s who we are. We really feel confident about the core, the roster we have in place. … Even though it’s a small sample size, when our top guys are on the floor, we’re a winning team and that’s our belief.” The Timberwolves are currently 22-49, tied with the Cavaliers for the league’s fifth worst record. The team’s 2021 draft pick will be sent to the Warriors unless it moves into the top three during the draft lottery.
  • Thunder rookie power forward Aleksej Pokusevski, the No. 17 pick in the 2020 draft, saw his season trajectory benefit from a G League assignment, per Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. “The first 10-15 [NBA] games I was just shooting the ball, wasn’t even reading the defense,” Pokusevski said. “The game slowed down after the G League for me. I started reading the game.”
  • Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert has unlocked his second consecutive $250K bonus for having his minutes-to-rebounds ratio being less than 3.2, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Gobert, the likely Defensive Player of the Year, will make an additional $500K if he is named an All-Defensive First Teamer. Marks adds (Twitter link) that none of Gobert’s potential bonuses will impact the team’s projected luxury tax bill, since those incentives were deemed likely entering the season.