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Jazz will focus on Rudy Gobert instead of rebuild, GM says

Official News · 

Rather than focusing on a rebuild, the Jazz will turn their attention to their greatest asset.

Utah general manager Dennis Lindsey on Saturday revealed the team will put its focus on 7-1 center Rudy Gobert after losing forward Gordon Hayward in free agency.

"We feel like we can build defensively around Rudy Gobert," Lindsey told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We look at him, and he's a top-10 player and unique defender. So we [want] to build a team around his talents.

"We just felt like we had too much talent to tear it down to the foundation. The main thing with [coach] Quin [Snyder] and Rudy is, what do we stand for? We feel like we have a great player in Rudy, and we want to showcase his ability."

Hayward opted to leave the Jazz after seven years and sign with the Celtics on a four-year, $128 million deal on July 4. Despite his exit, the team is confident Gobert can be the leader it needs.

"We have the chance to be very good defensively," Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell said. "With Rudy in the middle, that allows the guards on the perimeter to pressure their men. If we get beat, we have the big guy to erase our mistakes and challenge in the paint. It's a nice luxury to have."

Although the Jazz undoubtedly will face a number of challenges, Gobert shares his teammates' confidence and believes "people are going to be surprised" by how the team handles the hurdle.