Utah Jazz has taken the top spot in the West, thanks in part to an “honest conversation” between All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
The young and talented roster appeared to be on the verge of destruction after Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in March last year and unwittingly infected his teammate Donovan Mitchell.
Gobert was able to fix fences through a phone call with Mitchell, however, and now the duo are leading the jazz into one of the team’s most successful runs in years.
“We had a very honest conversation and that’s all I needed,” said Gobert Sam Amick in an interview for the Athletic. “You know, when I knew afterwards that I was telling him everything that was on my mind and I heard everything that was on his mind, I knew that we could move forward.”
* Why these “salvageable” jazz title contenders
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– Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 3, 2021
The Jazz was able to regroup despite media coverage as the COVID incident broke their camaraderie, but the team exited the Orlando bubble after losing their series in the first round.
Gobert and Donovan signed a five-year extension in the off-season that they will keep in Utah until at least the 2024-25 season, rekindling ambitions for a run for the title.
“For me it was really like that I could put myself in his shoes and I think he could put himself in my shoes,” said Gobert. “As two young executives on this team, it can be very powerful when two executives are able to do so. And I think that really allowed us to grow. In a way, we’ve celebrated our growth as players, as people, as players too. And that’s a big reason why we believe today that we can win a championship together. “
Gobert averages 13.9 points, 13.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists this season, while Mitchell averages 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season.
The 16-and-five Jazz have won their last nine out of ten games, taking on the Hawks on Thursday night in Atlanta.