Charlotte Hornets: Is Rudy Gobert an offseason trade prospect?

Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Heading into the 2020 offseason, could the Charlotte Hornets go after the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert?

While fans prepare to enjoy the start of the rest of the season next month, the Charlotte Hornets will already be working on what they’ll do when the offseason starts. Something the team could do is target an all-star to upgrade their center position.

The Hornets could look at targeting is Rudy Gobert, a center who made his first all-star appearance in 2020. However, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding him due to his actions prior to the NBA suspending the regular season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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If you put the jokes aside about Gobert, he is actually a very good rebounder and defender. While it may not sense for the Jazz to trade him away, Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have not had a perfect relationship as of late. While they may be trying to “repair it,” there’s been no promises that he will be with the team next season.

Just like Nicolas Batum, Gobert is a French basketball player who represented his country in last year’s FIBA tournament. Before the NBA’s hiatus, he managed to average 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds (career-high), and 2.0 blocks per game. Gobert has also been the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the past two seasons.

Since Gobert is a consistent rebounder, this may be something the Hornets will like about him. The Hornets finished 25th in rebounds per game this season with 42.8. Rebounding will be something that the Hornets could look at improving in the offseason.

However, paint defense was also an issue for the Hornets, as they allowed 50.5 points per game in the paint. As one of the worse paint defending teams in the league, rim-protection is an issue that could be solved with Gobert.

Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Hornets allowed teams to average 109.6 points per game against them. With that said, the team allowed 50.5 of those points to be scored in the paint every game.

In April, Coach James Borrego told the media that the Hornets must address rim-protection in the offseason. The Hornets will have the opportunity to address this issue with a trade, free agency, or the NBA Draft.

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As a freakish athlete that has proven to be a consistent defender, Rudy Gobert could help solve many of the Charlotte Hornets’ defensive struggles. While the NBA will continue with finishing the season, the Hornets could take a look at what Gobert does in the playoffs if he plays.