Stay down, rook. (Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)
Reaction time is everything in the NBA. It can mean the difference between being able to slide over a screen and getting plastered by the pick, breaking up a pass that starts a fast break and giving up an uncontested layup, beating the buzzer and coming up just short ... or steering clear of a posterization and finding yourself smack dab in the middle of one. Just ask Utah Jazz rookie center Rudy Gobert, who received an up-close-and-personal introduction to Bullet Point No. 1 on the Los Angeles Clippers scouting report on Wednesday night:
As you can see in the clip, Gobert reacts to the lapsed pick-and-roll coverage by point guard Scott Machado and recently re-upped power forward Derrick Favors by rotating off of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan to stop the ball. Just one problem, though: When Blake Griffin has received the ball from Chris Paul within hailing distance of the hoop, the ball doesn't stop; it soars.
At that point, Gobert's instincts kick in — after all, the Frenchman is a 7-foot-1 shot-blocker who claims to reside in "Swat Lake City" — and he elevates to contest the shot. Almost as soon as his feet leave the floor, though, he realizes what who is coming at him and what is about to happen to him — namely, becoming the next contestant on that Mozgov-ing screen — and he gets a pretty severe case of T-Rex arms. This, of course, does not help prevent the delivery of a very loud and forceful dunk directly in his face ... but it at least makes it more likely that we won't remember this particular Blakening years down the line.
Sure, Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin would likely prefer that his rim protector actually followed through on his intent to, y'know, protect the rim. You have to be at least a little bit impressed with the way Gobert processed the information there, though — a kinda-sorta veteran move from a rookie, when you think about it, even if the result still didn't work out so great for him. We can only wonder if his elder Utah teammates will decide that Gobert merits more rookie hazing as a result of the blockus interruptus, or if they feel that the dunk itself was punishment enough.
Gobert did block five shots and grab 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time in the Clippers' 103-99 preseason win over the Jazz. Griffin scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time through three quarters.
Video via the NBA.
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