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Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert Receives NBA Defensive Player Of The Year Award

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Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert secured a share of NBA history by clinching the league’s Defensive Player of the Year accolade for the fourth time on Tuesday.

At 31, Gobert, previously honored in 2018, 2019, and 2021 with the Utah Jazz, now stands alongside Hall of Fame giants Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the only four-time recipients of the prestigious award.

Standing tall at 7-foot-1, Gobert played a pivotal role in fortifying the Timberwolves’ defense this season, propelling them to the league’s top defensive ranking. Minnesota conceded a mere 108.4 points per 100 possessions, surpassing the second-ranked Boston Celtics by 2.2 points.

Despite missing Game 2 of the playoff series against the Denver Nuggets on Monday due to the birth of his son, Gobert showcased his defensive prowess throughout the season. He ranked sixth in the league for blocked shots per game, averaging 2.1 rejections, and boasted a remarkable defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to just 45.2%, the lowest among 38 players contesting at least 1,000 shots.

Gobert’s intimidating presence extended beyond statistics, significantly impacting opponents’ shot selection and success rates. When on the court, adversaries attempted only 21.6% of their shots from inside the restricted area, the lowest rate in the league. Conversely, this figure rose to 26.7% when Gobert was off the floor, highlighting his irreplaceable defensive influence.

Moreover, the Timberwolves’ defensive dominance was evident in their ability to stifle dunk and layup attempts, holding opponents to a league-low 56.6% shooting rate in these situations.

Gobert’s defensive versatility was equally impressive. He excelled in switch situations, conceding the fewest points per direct isolations among players defending at least 175 isolation possessions. Additionally, his proficiency as a pick-and-roll defender was evident, allowing the third-fewest points per direct pick among defenders tasked with defending at least 1,000 on-ball picks.

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