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5 Weeks After Questioning Rudy Gobert’s Defensive Prowess, Shaquille O’Neal Agrees with DeMarcus Cousins About the Same

Shubham Singh

5 Weeks After Questioning Rudy Gobert’s Defensive Prowess, Shaquille O’Neal Agrees with DeMarcus Cousins About the Same

Despite being a 3x DPOY, Rudy Gobert has continued to receive a lot of flak for his defensive abilities. Interestingly, he has been labeled as “soft” many times for not locking down players in the perimeter. The 31-year-old is on course for a 4th DPOY award after he led all NBA players in Defensive Rating during the 2023-24 season, per StatMuse. Even after such heroics, former NBA Centers DeMarcus Cousins and Shaquille O’Neal have downplayed Gobert’s defensive abilities.

In such an instance, on his Bully Ball pod, Cousins argued for Victor Wembanyama’s case as the DPOY over the Timberwolves Center. For Cousins, Gobert doesn’t give off the “vibe” that a DPOY is supposed to emanate. Considering that The Stifle Tower is often on the bench during crunch-time situations, the 4x All-Star questioned Gobert’s value as a late-game contributor. On the other hand, he argued that Wemby is on the floor during crucial junctures, implying his high defensive value. 

“You can’t have a potential four-time DPOY that doesn’t finish games…If you’re the best defender on the best defensive team, you should never be off the floor…So, how do we keep awarding this guy, that can’t even stay on the floor in the playoffs?” Cousins asked co-hosts Rachel Nichols and Amin Elhassan.

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On his Instagram story, Shaquille O’Neal shared these words by Cousins. It was not surprising that this take resonated with the 3x Finals MVP, who has been a huge critique of the French big man in the past for similar reasons.

As per Shaq, Rudy Gobert is “not a great defender”. In March, the 4x NBA champion argued that Gobert is ineffective against elite offensive centers like Nikola Jokic. Shaq further noted that the Timberwolves Center only shines as a help defender.

You want to impress me? Hold Joker under 15 points. All that weakside shot blocking, that’s cool. But it’s not going to work against guys like me and Joker,” Shaq stated on The Big Podcast.

Later on in the podcast, Shaq also questioned Gobert’s contract. He questioned why the Utah Jazz decided to award him a five-year, $205 million contract in 2021.

Shaquille O’Neal is not a fan of Rudy Gobert’s contract

During his pod, the Inside the NBA analyst also ripped into Gobert’s offensive game. Shaq wondered how someone who registers “12 points” and “8 rebounds” can make so much money. According to the Diesel, a 42-year-old version of him could have put up similar numbers in the league. Thus, he would have been able to land a similar amount. 

If I were 42, I’d be making Rudy Gobert money. Twelve points and eight rebounds? I could do that s**t right now… making $250 million… averaging twelve points,” Shaq had said on The Big Podcast.

The 2000 MVP didn’t miss out on a chance to take a hit at the Center during the 2023 FIBA World Cup as well. When videos of Gobert shooting threes went viral, O’Neal opined that it proved that the NBA is “soft”. The 15x All-Star believes that a Center of Gobert’s size should shut down the best offensive players in the league, which is often not the case.

Post Edited By:Satagni Sikder

About the author

Shubham Singh

Shubham Singh


Shubham Singh is an NBA Journalist at SportsRush. He found his passion in Writing when he couldn't fulfil his dream of playing professional basketball. Shubham is obsessed with box scores and also loves to keep track of advanced stats and is, particularly, fond of writing CoreSport analytical pieces. In the league, his all time favorites were 80s Bad Boys, Pistons, while Dennis Rodman and his enthralling rebounding made him love the game more. It also made him realize that the game is much more than fancy scoring and playmaking. Shubham is also a huge fan of cricket and loves to watch all forms of women sports.

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