Kelvin Kuo, Associated Press
Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, right, handles the ball as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. The Jazz won 126-107.
Rudy Gobert will be available to play in tonight’s game against Washington. It remains to be seen whether he will be on a minutes restriction or back in the starting lineup.
In Gobert’s absence, the Jazz have gone 7-4 and are on a six-game winning streak. Since the injury, Coach Quin Snyder decided to move Derrick Favors to the center position and play with a stretch four. This change has helped the Jazz offense go from being one of the worst in the league to a juggernaut. They have the third-ranked offense in the league during the last 11 games.
Their offense has exploded for a few reasons: first, the Jazz haven’t played any team ranked in the top 10 defensively besides the 76ers in the past 11 games. Second, many players have stepped up their game in Gobert’s absence. Favors looks like a completely different player since the position change. When he was playing next to Gobert, he was averaging just under 10 points a game. During the past 11 games he is over 15 points a game and his rebounds and assists are up also. Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha, Alec Burks and others have also stepped up in the absence of the Jazz star.
The third and main reason the offense has come alive is the Jazz are playing with a spread floor. Before the injury, Snyder started a lineup with three non-shooters (Gobert, Favors and Ricky Rubio). This trio didn’t spread the floor and allowed defensives to clog the paint and take away Gobert’s basketball gravity.
With Gobert returning, how Coach Snyder adjusts the lineup and rotation is on all fans’ minds. There are plenty of options available: one is they could bring Gobert off the bench, but that isn’t happening. They could move Favors to the bench. This would work but Favors has played brilliantly as of late, is in a contract year and arguably is their second-best player. One can’t see him being happy with that idea.
The most logical choice would be to start both the bigs but…