Kevin Durant highly praises Rudy Gobert as ‘All-world, Hall of Fame defensive player’ after Game 1 defeat

Gobert is on his way to become a 4x DPOY.


Kevin Durant highly praises Rudy Gobert as ‘All-world, Hall of Fame defensive player’ after Game 1 defeat

Kevin Durant and Rudy Gobert

Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns take on Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the postseason. As the Wolves take Game 1 with a dominant victory, the odds of the series have been heavily affected. This comes after a 25-point win, led by Anthony Edwards‘ 33-point bomb on the Suns. However, it was not only the Ant-Man’s performance that played a key role in the win.

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The Wolves did a fantastic job guarding Devin Booker and KD from the perimeter. Both the players are elite scorers and can make their own shots. However, the Wolves suffocated the two from outside, not telling either of them to get to their spot. Rudy Gobert was a key defensive player, as the three-time Defensive Player of the Year was praised by Durant.

Rudy’s gotten extremely better at guarding perimeters, guarding posts, guarding the rim. So you can’t just throw ‘em in actions expecting them to just give in. I think we’ll be strategic with what we do and make the ball move. We gotta be cautious of putting guys in action, but also, realize that they still have All-World Hall of Fame Defensive player over there and guys around him that can guard the perimeter too.
Kevin Durant ahead of Game 2 via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports

In the league, big men are often seen as mismatches for guards and scorers due to their size, quickness, and ability to defend their opponents. However, many big men struggle to improve their perimeter defense over time. Rudy Gobert, on the other hand, has made significant improvements in this area, which is why he could be on track to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award.

Rudy Gobert has a strong case for DPOY this year

The finalists for all the awards have been revealed by the league. Rudy Gobert, along with Bam Adebayo and the rookie, Victor Wembanyama, are the three finalists for the DPOY. Out of all, the rookie has been a defensive wall in the paint, being statistically better than Bam and Gobert.

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However, Wemby’s squad, the San Antonio Spurs, could not manage to get as many wins and make the playoffs. Whereas Adebayo has also done a great job defensively, but head-to-head, Gobert would stand as a better candidate than Bam.

If the Wolves can manage to make the Conference Finals, with Gobert being the key defensive player, he might just get his hands on his fourth DPOY award. On the other hand, Wembanyama, who averaged more points and blocks and is the probable Rookie of the Year, the Frenchman has the upper hand to win DPOY.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Gobert makes in the coming games as the primary defender of the team. The Wolves will look to extend their series lead as they host the Suns again on Tuesday.

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