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SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert had some simple advice for LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Whatever team wants to win will pick me,” Gobert said last week after he was named to his first All-Star game.
If that’s the case, Team Giannis is looking pretty good.
Antetokounmpo selected Gobert with the No. 5 pick in the reserve player draft and then united the Jazz teammates by selecting Donovan Mitchell with his final pick of the draft.
And Antetokounmpo knows a bit about how Gobert and Mitchell can win a game. Last season, MItchell scored 19 points in the fourth quarter against the Bucks to lead the Jazz to a comeback victory. And earlier this season, Gobert made a key defensive stop in the closing seconds, forcing a Bucks turnover in the corner to help set up Bojan Bogdanovic’s game-winning 3-pointer.
Antetokounmpo is hoping the Jazz’s two first-time All-Stars bring a little bit of that clutch play to Chicago.
While both Gobert and Mitchell played the diplomatic card, stating that they didn’t have much of a preference about which team they were drafted on, Mitchell did make it known that he wanted to play with his teammate.
“I’d rather just play with Rudy,” Mitchell said on Wednesday. ”I don’t mean to sound like corny when I say it. But seriously I think that would be cool for us to kind of enjoy that moment together. But if we do play against each other I can kind of get back at him for France against USA.”
Donovan Mitchell on the All-Star draft: “oh, that’s tomorrow...” pic.twitter.com/hfdsGmTj6f— Ryan Miller (@millerjryan) February 5, 2020
It had been a whirlwind week for MItchell and Gobert and the Jazz’s struggles haven’t helped much. It got to a point that MItchell didn’t even realize that the draft was happening so soon.
“Oh, that’s tomorrow?” Mitchell said on Wednesday when he was asked if he’d be tuning in for the draft. “Yeah, definitely. I didn't even know that was tomorrow. I’m excited. To be honest, it takes for people to tell me I’m an All-Star to remember I’m an All-Star.
“After that night in Denver you kind of just breathe, exhale and worry about the games coming up. Obviously, they haven’t gone in our favor, but really I hate to say it and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I really forget.”
Gobert and Mitchell’s team will also include Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker, Trae Young, Khris Middleton, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and Brandon Ingram.
“I grew up a LeBron fan, so that would be pretty special, but there’s no one like really Giannis in the league,” Mitchell said.
- Anthony Davis, LeBron
- Joel Embiid, Giannis
- Kawhi Leonard, LeBron
- Pascal Siakam, Giannis
- Luka Doncic, LeBron
- Kemba Walker, Giannis
- James Harden, LeBron
- Trae Young, Giannis
- Khris Middleton, Giannis
- Damian Lillard, LeBron
- Bam Adebayo, Giannis
- Ben Simmons, LeBron
- Rudy Gobert, Giannis
- Nikola Jokic, LeBron
- Jimmy Butler, Giannis
- Jayson Tatum, LeBron
- Kyle Lowry, Giannis
- Chris Paul, LeBron
- Brandon Ingram, Giannis
- Russell Westbrook, LeBron
- Donovan Mitchell, Giannis
- Domantas Sabonis, LeBron