How valuable is Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert — or any big man, for that matter — in today’s NBA?

Couple of weeks ago I tweeted out a foolish thing or two about Utah center Rudy Gobert. I basically said he was overrated and made a general comparison between Gobert and JaVale McGee.

It was a mistake. Wasn’t the first one on Twitter, probably won’t be the last. I’d apologize but nobody really got hurt, you know? The reason I wish I hadn’t done it is because it obscured a larger point I was trying to make about big men in general — not Gobert in particular: Big men aren’t as important as they once were in the NBA.

Had a chance to address this topic in an interview with ESPN/700 earlier.

Here’s link to me discussing Gobert and big men in the NBA with O’Connell and Swinney on ESPN/700 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Jazz visit Oracle Arena tonight to take on the Golden State Warriors, and Gobert is on quite a role.

The simple reason I don’t think big men have as much value and impact as they’ve had in the past is because of the preponderance of 3-point shooting. There are other reasons that I tried to explain in the interview, but in essence the league right now is skewed in favor of smaller perimeter-type players — and not bigs like Gobert.

The 3-point shot is being used more and more in the NBA. Last week, Houston took 61 3-pointers, which just a few years ago would have been an unheard of total. My overall point is that because of the 3-point line and the fact that it is now a foundation of the NBA big men don’t have the impact they once did.

It’s like in the past 10-15 years a whole new shot has been created, and it’s worth one more point than the conventional two-point basket. That shot for the most part excludes big men because they can’t shoot it and it excludes them because they can’t defend it.

Was I too hard on Gobert? Of course. But I just wonder if in this day and age of the NBA you need a rim protector? Especially when you can construct an offense — like the Warriors, for example — that will lure a big man away from the interior.




About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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