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SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert admitted he might be too honest sometimes when talking to the media.
It’s not hard to find the examples. There was the time he passively aggressively called out Donovan Mitchell’s (and other’s) defense when he praised Devin Booker’s effort on the perimeter. That, understandably, rubbed his teammates the wrong way.
And then there was Tuesday when said the Jazz don’t get their “hands dirty.”
“Nobody hits nobody. We don’t get our hands dirty. We never get our hands dirty,” Gobert said. “We’re a very good basketball team, but I get (messed) up every night, guys are literally beating me up every night — as they should; it’s basketball, it’s a physical game. But we have to get to the point where we do that to the other team, too.”
Gobert was quick to include himself in the criticism, but was that a less-than-veiled shot at the Jazz’s aggressiveness, their intensity, their ability to punch back? And is voicing those concerns through the media the best approach? Not according to coach Quin Snyder.
“My preference is that I think there’s a forum for that that is maybe more productive,” Snyder said.
Comments that could be construed as shots had been one of the narratives as Utah slumped to a 1-5 road trip — Utah snapped a five-game losing streak Thursday against the Lakers.
Gobert said Utah could have been better at moving the ball against Boston; a question about that comment elicited a very annoyed look from Mitchell.
After the loss to Dallas, in a game Gobert didn’t play, Mitchell praised the guys that “suited up,” and Rudy Gay mentioned Gobert’s salary when speaking about his importance.
Backbiting? Finger pointing? Or were they mostly innocent comments getting overanalyzed?
Mitchell downplayed the apparent pointed remarks, calling such things “childish.”
“If we do that, we’ve got some bigger problems,” Mitchell said. “We have a group of guys that are seasoned, that know what this is and have been through ups and down. A five-game losing streak, if that’s what breaks us then that’s not who we think we are.”
Gobert, meanwhile, said he wishes he could take some things back — not because they weren’t true, but because after games he’s a bit too emotional in his remarks.
“I speak my mind,” Gobert said. “For me, it’s never about pointing fingers. It’s just that I’m not perfect in the way I communicate. But I’m an emotional person and I don’t like losing, so, obviously, I wish I would never say anything.
“Sometimes I’m a little too honest with you guys. I’m sure you guys like it, it’s probably refreshing compared to a lot of guys in this league who say what they are supposed to say. I speak my mind, and it’s always about winning.”
Gobert said the things that are said on the podium after games are also said in the locker room. So he didn’t want it to be construed as the team is only speaking to each other through the press.
“It’s not like we say things here and we don’t say them to each other,” Gobert said. “We all know things we need to do to get better. I just speak my mind. I know sometimes it’s uncomfortable. I’m part of it. It’s never: ‘They gotta be better’ or ‘He’s gotta be better,’ it’s ‘We gotta be better.’
And being better is something the Jazz could probably all agree on.
“I think we are a team that is locked in as a group,” Mitchell said. “I don’t worry about where our team is at, as far as that goes. That’s more external than internal.”
Ryan Miller has covered the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.