After coming up just short in his pursuit of winning a third NBA defensive player of the year award this past season, Rudy Gobert is still the best defensive big man in the NBA — and there’s no debating that.
Announced on Friday evening — and for the sixth consecutive season — Gobert was named on the all-NBA’s defensive team.
Just a kid from Saint-Quentin
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 21, 2022
Gobert was one of the three finalists for the defensive player of the year award, having won it in three of the past four years. While Boston guard Marcus Smart won the award, Gobert’s nomination was special as he was the only center/forward listed, the first time that’s happened in the past decade.
After dominating defensively over the past six seasons, some within Utah’s organization believe that he’s been held to an unfair standard given all of his success on the defensive end of the court.
He’s the only player in the game who can defend the rim and the perimeter simultaneously, thanks in large part to size and athleticism. He affects the game defensively more than any player in the league.
“Rudy gets evaluated on a lot of different things, sometimes two of them at the same time,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “The fact we’re even making that analysis of guy that can actually protect the rim and go out and contest the three says a lot about what’s he’s capable of doing. His ability to do that is essential on how we play defense.”
Despite his standing as one of the greatest defensive players of all time, Gobert has still faced an insane amount of criticism. From players, coaches and media, many don’t give Gobert the respect he deserves — a notion that he no longer cares about as long as the Jazz win.
“If anything, when people keep talking about you, if they’re talking about you in some way, it means you’re doing something right,” Gobert said. “If anything, the more noise, the harder it becomes to take these people seriously. When you’re great at what you do, the world will recognize you for who you are and what you do. … That’s my mindset.”