Rudy Gobert Discusses Relationship With Donovan Mitchell, DPOY Race

Apr 7, 2022, 4:33 PM | Updated: Apr 8, 2022, 2:09 pm
Donovan Mitchell - Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and center Rudy Gobert (27) talk on the court during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert went on national television and discussed his relationship with Donovan Mitchell and the discussion around him potentially winning another NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

The three-time NBA All-Star joined Malika Andrews on ESPN’s NBA Today on Thursday, April 7.

During the interview, Gobert answered questions about the rumors surrounding him and Mitchell, as well as why he deserves to win a fourth Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Relationship with Donovan Mitchell

“There’s always gonna be noise,” Gobert said. “There’s a lot of teams and a lot of people that would love for us to break apart. They would love to get a Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell in their team.”

The center continued his remarks by highlighting “big markets” as teams that would want the two players.

“There’s a lot of bigger markets too that would love to get that,” Gobert continued. “We’re aware of that and we know that everything that happens within our team, on the court, off the court, is being looked at with a big scope and people are looking for anything to try and divide us.”

Gobert and Mitchell’s relationship has been a topic of conversation for multiple seasons. The conversation became a national point of interest in the basketball world following Gobert and Mitchell’s cases with COVID-19 early in the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

The Jazzman brought that up to Andrews and said that he and Mitchell have to tune out that “noise.”

“For us, after what we’ve been through over the last few years and the COVID situation and everything, we’re both aware of that,” Gobert said. “We both know that it’s something that’s not gonna stop and we’ve got to mute that noise. We both have that same goal, which is to win a championship here and we’ve got to embrace the moment.

Andrews followed up the comments and asked, “And you’re still committed to doing that here and now?”

“For sure,” Gobert replied. “We’re here for a reason.”

He finished his comments on his relationship with Mitchell by stating that although “it’s never gonna be perfect… supporting each other is the key.”

Defensive Player of the Year Race

Gobert has won the NBA’s top award for defense three of the past four seasons and is one of the primary candidates to win the honor for the 2021-22 campaign.

Some of the other candidates for the award include Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Mikal Bridges (Phoenix Suns), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), and Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat).

“I think it should just be about impact,” Gobert said of who should win DPOY. “Who is having the most impact for their respective teams?”

Gobert said that over the years he’s been trying his best to translate what he does on the court into wins for the Jazz.

“When you look at the numbers, they don’t lie. They speak for themselves,” he highlighted.

Gobert finished his case by saying that although he thinks it’s “unfair,” his consistency over the past few seasons has made it easy for voters to overlook him in the race.

“If anyone else not named Rudy Gobert was doing what I do this year and having the impact that I have this year, they would be the frontrunner and it would be clear,” Gobert argued. “Why should I be penalized for being consistent year after year?”

This season, Gobert has helped the Jazz to a 48-32 record and a playoff berth for the sixth straight season.

He is currently averaging 15.5 points per game on a career-high 71.3 percent from the field. He also averages 14.7 rebounds per game (No. 1 in the NBA), 1.1 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 0.7 steals per contest.

Utah’s next game is at home against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. (MDT). The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA TV, and The Zone Sports Network.

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