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2021 NBA Champion Mocks DPOY Rudy Gobert’s Defense on Nikola Jokic, Brings Up Draymond Green and Dwight Howard

Sourav Bose

2021 NBA Champion Mocks DPOY Rudy Gobert's Defense on Nikola Jokic, Brings Up Draymond Green and Dwight Howard

The ongoing playoffs have paved the way for an eagerly awaited matchup between the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the reigning DPOY Rudy Gobert. However, there has been one clear winner of this battle with the former frequently overshadowing the latter. This one-sided dominance recently even prompted Jeff Teague to ridicule Gobert, using Draymond Green and Dwight Howard as references.

The 2021 NBA champion expressed his thoughts after the Minnesota Timberwolves’ humbling away defeat to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5. Throughout the clash, Gobert failed to contain Jokic one-on-one, devaluing his DPOY tag. This situation frustrated Teague, prompting him to declare the following on Club 520 Podcast,

“You ever seen when Jokic was like, ‘Brotha, I had ’47 points’. That’s all I see every time Rudy Gobert is guarding him…KAT [Karl-Anthony Towns] do a better job. Naz [Reid] do a better job. Let him [Gobert] be the help defender”.

Furthermore, the 35-year-old highlighted how the Nuggets constantly exploited Gobert as a weak link in the Timberwolves’ defense. This led to him mockingly questioning the worthiness of the Frenchman’s accolade. To elaborate on his viewpoint, Teague recollected his past encounters, stating,

“When Draymond Green [was DPOY], we did stuff to get away from Draymond. Dwight Howard, when he was Defensive Player of the Year all those years, you didn’t go at Dwight. They getting the switch for Rudy…They run a screen to get Rudy onto Jokic”.

The harshness of his comments remained justified to a certain extent. Despite being the primary defender on Jokic, Gobert visibly found this matchup unfavorable time and again, raising eyebrows. This also resulted in the Serbian dictating game outcomes, while averaging 28.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 8 assists per game in the series [as per StatMuse].

As a result, Teague was not the only one who got infuriated with the on-court endeavors of Gobert.

Rudy Gobert continues to garner criticism

During the Game 5 defeat, Gobert looked helpless on the court at times. While going up against Jokic, he often ran out of answers. Consequently, the 3x MVP dominated on the floor, registering a double-double of 40 points, and 13 assists in the clash [as per StatMuse].

This prompted Shannon Sharpe to mock the Timberwolves star as well. Shedding light on the 31-year-old’s inability to contain the Nuggets talisman, Unc wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “Jokic has the 4x DPOY, Gorbert looking like I’m guarding him. Yoke has 35-12-5 thru 3 quarters on 13-17 shooting”.

His taunting did not just end there. When an NBA supporter attempted to defend Gobert’s pride in the comments, Sharpe even hit back at him, stating, “4x DPOY, figure it out”.

Additionally, Gobert’s unconvincing display brought forward a fresh perspective from Gilbert Arenas. The 3x All-Star outlined how the Timberwolves roster seemed to be collaborating better in the absence of their 7ft 1″ center. In a recent episode of Gil’s Arena, he stated,

“When Rudy [Gobert] is out, the defense like, ‘Oh sh*t, we don’t have him back there. Let’s tighten up. We’re gonna play structurally different'”.

Undoubtedly, the NBA world remains unhappy with the efforts of Gobert. However, they seem to be over-scrutinizing his efforts overlooking his impact on the franchise. This outlined the high standards the Frenchman has set for himself, as the time has come for him to live up to them.

Amidst the criticism, one must not forget who Gobert was up against in all series. Only a handful of NBA stars have been able to mitigate the risk of Jokic throughout his career. More importantly, this number has declined in recent years, highlighting the Serbian’s surge in status.

The debate on Gobert’s DPOYs and his inability to slow Jokic down will continue into the offseason, irrespective of what happens in game 7 of this series. All the Frenchman can do is lock-in, and play his best defense in hopes that he can save face and help the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals.

Post Edited By:Sameen Nawathe

About the author

Sourav Bose

Sourav Bose


Sourav, a seasoned NBA journalist at the SportsRush, discovered his profound love for basketball through the brilliance of Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors. With over 600 articles in his career, he has established himself as a dedicated and prolific writer in the field. Influenced by 'The Last Dance' documentary and the anime 'Slam Dunk,' Sourav's passion for basketball is marked by insightful observations and a comprehensive understanding of the sport's history. Beyond his role as a journalist, he delves into the strategic dimensions of sports management and explores literature in his spare time, reflecting a well-rounded approach to his craft. Sourav's journey is characterized by a commitment to unraveling the intricacies of basketball and sports in general, making him a reliable source for NBA enthusiasts and a seasoned observer of the sports landscape.

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