Starter: Rudy Gobert
Depth: Derrick Favors, Ekpe Udoh
The Stifle Tower missed out on the All-NBA teams last year after another season full of spectacular defense and high-efficiency offense. Injury played a role in that absence, but appearing in only 56 games didn’t stop Rudy Gobert from securing his Defensive Player of the Year award. Gobert barricades the paint, terrifying opposing drivers and forcing teams to take more mid-rangers than they would like. Thanks primarily to their giant Frenchman, the Jazz were one of the best teams in the league at limiting opponent attempts at the rim and from beyond the 3-point line. Those are, of course, the most valuable shots on the floor. If Gobert can stay healthy, this team is a mortal lock to have a top-five defense.
Rudy also has a ton of value on offense. He has vastly improved over the past two years, becoming a more consistent finisher at the rim and transforming into one of the league’s premier roll men. That skill set gives him serious gravity on the floor as teams must constantly be aware of potential lobs to the Frenchman. As noted above, Derrick Favors is more than capable of absorbing big minutes at the 5 when necessary. From time to time Ekpe Udoh will also slot in at the 5, primarily for defensive purposes.