Gobert Discusses Defensive Misconceptions With Taylor Rooks

Mar 21, 2022, 3:23 PM
Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz vs. Bulls...
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz blocks a shot by Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 22, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert argued there’s a gap between the perception of his defense and the reality of his impact with Bleacher Report’s NBA insider Taylor Rooks.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year sat down with Rooks for an hour-long conversation discussing everything from comments made by Patrick Beverley and Draymond Green about his defense, to his public COVID diagnosis, to his funniest Jazz teammates.

In a segment shared on Twitter, Gobert discussed his unique perspective on defense, and why it may create a misunderstanding of his effectiveness.

“What people don’t understand about what I do on the court is I’m not just guarding one player,” Gobert said. “When I’m out there, my mindset is to guard the whole team.”

Gobert has won three of the last four Defensive Player of the Year awards, and currently ranks second behind Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on NBA.com’s DPOY ranking.

“My guy might score 30, I don’t want that, I have pride, obviously, but if my guy scores 30, but the other team’s got 80 points, that’s the best defense in the league,” Gobert said. “That’s amazing. I’ll take that.”

On ESPN’s 2021-22 Defensive Real Plus-Minus ratings, Gobert ranks second in the NBA behind Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela who hasn’t been mentioned in the Defensive Player of the Year race.

Antetokounmpo ranks 104th according to ESPN’s rating, Draymond Green ranks 105th, and Beverley ranks 92nd.

But despite Green and Beverley openly campaigning against Gobert, he told Rooks that those in the know never question his effectiveness.

“When I talk to retired players, when I talk to people, coaches, GMs people that really understand this game and watch me night-in and night-out, there’s never any negative comments made,” Gobert said. “They all respect and appreciate the way I play the game.”

Gobert is having arguably the best year of his career overall as he leads the NBA in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage.

The three-time All-Star is averaging 15.5 points per game, the second-most of career, and career highs in rebounds at 14.7 per game, field goal percentage at 71 percent, and free-throw percentage and 69 percent.

Despite his career-year, Gobert says the narrative about him that has swirled among Green, Beverley, and online has painted an obscure picture of how he plays.

“When you talk about social media and all that stuff, that’s when it comes into play, right?” Gobert said. “There’s usually a gap between the perception and reality.”

With another Defensive Player of the Year award, Gobert’f four honors would tie Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo for the most in NBA history.

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Gobert Discusses Defensive Misconceptions With Taylor Rooks