Usually, it's Rudy Gobert doing the defending.
But Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell had some rebuttals for Gobert's critics following the 2020 NBA All-Star Game:
Eric Walden @tribjazz
Donovan Mitchell, on Rudy Gobert’s detractors: “I think that they should shut up. You look at his stat line, what did he have — 21 and (11)? ... People love to talk about, ‘Oh, he’s not this, he’s not this’ — they’ve been doing that since I got here. One day they’ll learn.” https://t.co/pWOihpw19e
Although Gobert and Mitchell came out on the losing end for Team Giannis, the former at least had an excellent performance. The Jazz center finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The questions about Gobert say less about the 7'1" Frenchman and more about the value of traditional centers in today's NBA.
The Detroit Pistons just unloaded two-time All-Star Andre Drummond for two expiring contracts and a second-round pick. The Houston Rockets also dealt Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks and have decided to basically play without a center for the stretch run.
The Jazz faced off with the new-look Rockets on Feb. 9 and walked away 114-113 victors. Houston shot 15-of-42 from beyond the arc, while Gobert played 37 minutes and finished with 12 rebounds and 15 assists.
Gobert has obvious limitations on offense. According to Basketball Reference, 83.1 percent of his shot attempts have come within three feet of the basket. The Jazz still rank eighth in offensive rating (111.9), though, per NBA.com.
The two-time Defensive Player of the Year remains effective when defending away from the basket as well. He's holding opponents to 33.4 percent shooting beyond 15 feet and 34.5 percent on three-pointers, per NBA.com.
Still, the Jazz need to deliver in the postseason in order for the doubts about their ceiling with Gobert subside.