SALT LAKE CITY — In postgame interviews, Rudy Gobert’s delivery is courtly and low key on the outside. But inside, the wind howls.
Why else would he come from France to become the most imposing player in the game? Why address slights from strangers on social media? What else would cause him to venture that the Jazz can win 60 games next year?
Now there is one more thing to drive the Stifle Tower. Monday night the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award went to Golden State’s Draymond Green. For Jazz fans, this is actually good news. Make no mistake, Gobert will take this personally. Slights and oversights help fuel him. When someone posted an online picture during draft night that said 59 percent of voters felt France’s Frank Ntilikina had “bust potential,” Gobert sarcastically fired back, “Bust potential goes automatically up 50 percent when you’re from Europe.”
His fearlessness even shows in his social media postings.
Gobert was a serious contender for DPOY. He doesn’t downplay that these honors mean something. They should. His was a strong case for all sorts of awards this year. He led the NBA in blocks per game, blocks percentage, real plus-minus and was third in overall defensive rating. He is the only player in history to finish in the top three in both offensive and defensive rating.
Monday he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, just two votes behind top vote-getter, the Warriors’ Green. But he won neither most improved nor best defensive player awards.
Athletic, energized and just mean enough, Gobert towers over the paint like the Colossus of Rhodes. Note to anyone driving the lane: Enter at your own risk. There will be more of the same next season, as the Jazz center gets back to the business of rejection.
It should be quite a …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News