Brad Rock: Ignoring Rudy Gobert isn’t a bad thing

SALT LAKE CITY — In postgame interviews, Rudy Gobert’s delivery is courtly and low key on the outside. But inside, the wind howls.

Why else would he come from France to become the most imposing player in the game? Why address slights from strangers on social media? What else would cause him to venture that the Jazz can win 60 games next year?

Now there is one more thing to drive the Stifle Tower. Monday night the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award went to Golden State’s Draymond Green. For Jazz fans, this is actually good news. Make no mistake, Gobert will take this personally. Slights and oversights help fuel him. When someone posted an online picture during draft night that said 59 percent of voters felt France’s Frank Ntilikina had “bust potential,” Gobert sarcastically fired back, “Bust potential goes automatically up 50 percent when you’re from Europe.”

His fearlessness even shows in his social media postings.

Gobert was a serious contender for DPOY. He doesn’t downplay that these honors mean something. They should. His was a strong case for all sorts of awards this year. He led the NBA in blocks per game, blocks percentage, real plus-minus and was third in overall defensive rating. He is the only player in history to finish in the top three in both offensive and defensive rating.

Monday he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, just two votes behind top vote-getter, the Warriors’ Green. But he won neither most improved nor best defensive player awards.

Athletic, energized and just mean enough, Gobert towers over the paint like the Colossus of Rhodes. Note to anyone driving the lane: Enter at your own risk. There will be more of the same next season, as the Jazz center gets back to the business of rejection.

It should be quite a …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Yankees hold off White Sox ninth-innning rally for win

CHICAGO — Jordan Montgomery matched his season high with seven solid innings and closer Aroldis Chapman shut down a ninth-inning rally just in time, lifting the New York Yankees over the Chicago White Sox 6-5 on Monday night.

New York led 6-1 entering the ninth, but Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve gave up a three-run homer to Tim Anderson and Chapman allowed an RBI double to Jose Abreu. Chapman retired Avisail Garcia and Todd Frazier to finish his eighth save and first since returning from the disabled list a week ago.

Recently recalled outfielder Tyler Austin lined a solo homer and had a sacrifice fly for new York, which won for the third time in 13 games to keep pace with Boston atop the AL East.

Frazier hit a solo homer for the only run off Montgomery (6-4).

New York took advantage of three Chicago errors to score four unearned runs off starter David Holmberg (1-2).

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Thunderbirds hoping to strike gold in CHL Import Draft

With the NHL Draft wrapped up this past weekend, the Seattle Thunderbirds and the rest of the junior hockey world now will turn their attention to the CHL Import Draft.

The draft takes place Wednesday and is unique in that it involves three different leagues picking players from Europe that they may very well have never seen play live. There is a lot of mystery and a certain amount of gambling involved in the draft.

Seattle picks 56th this year and hope to replicate some of its recent import success.

Because most junior teams don’t have international scouts they rely on some chance viewings at tournaments and reports from contacts overseas. Even if a team is confident in their pick, there is still the unknown of whether the player will come over – import players are under no obligation to report – and if they do, there is no way of knowing how they will adapt to North America and the North American style of games.

Imports don’t always work out, but some teams have struck gold.

In 2012, the Prince Albert Raiders took Leon Draisaitl with the second pick in the import draft and he went on to score 78 goals in two-plus WHL seasons while becoming the second overall pick in the NHL Draft.

Since the draft began in 1992, the Thunderbirds have selected a total of 30 players with current import Sami Moilanen being the last. Each team is limited to just two import players and with Alexander True also being an over-age player who would take two slots, the expectation is that Seattle will be drafting a replacement on Wednesday.

True and Moilanen were the latest in what has been a successful import run over the last five years.

Seattle’s first successful import was Jan Hrdina in 1994 out of the Czech Republic. In …read more

Source:: – Sports