Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is having a monumental last couple of days. On Monday, his wife gave birth to their first child, while today, Wednesday, he won his fourth NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, tied for most in league history. He eclipsed Dwight Howard and joined Hall-of-Famers Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the only four-time winners.

Gobert previously won the hardwood in 2018, 2019, and 2021.

Quick side note: The Frenchman missed Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinals series against the defending champion Denver Nuggets as he flew back to Minneapolis for his wife and newborn son, which fortunately became a non-factor as his teammates handily won, 106-80, to capture a two-zip lead.


Bagging the DPOY this year should feel extra special as he was on a roller coaster over the last two seasons. The Timberwolves traded four players, five first-round picks, and one pick swap for his services in the 2022 off-season, but he went on to have an underwhelming 2022-23 campaign, with Minny staying as a subpar playoff team instead of becoming a better contender – he also tallied just 1.4 blocks per game, his lowest since his rookie year. They then got bounced by the Nuggets in the first round of the 2023 postseason, 4-1.

Then, this 2023-24 campaign, he played with more rhythm, confidence, and chemistry with his teammates. They finished with the franchise’s best record in 20 years at 56-26, which is also good for third in the Western Conference. Through his help, Minnesota also became the consensus best defensive team in the league, something that’s greatly supported by the numbers as the squad ranked first in points allowed and defensive rating in the regular season.

After all the DPOYs and the way he bounced back from adversity, one would expect he has his peers’ respect. Well, not quite.

From Shaquille O’Neal to Draymond Green (although he recently gave him his props) consistently dishing out criticism and mockery, it has expanded to a fair amount. An NBA player survey this season–albeit a small sample size–was released prior to the playoffs and revealed that the Timberwolves big man was voted as the “Most Overrated Player” in the league.

We can only guess what the reason may be, but you have to wonder where their point-of-view looks like. Gobert averaged 14.0 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game on 66.1% shooting this season, as well as a league-leading 5.8 Defensive Win Shares. and clearly stands as the anchor of the league’s best defensive team. Also, he most probably has swatted every player who was involved in the voting process.

Nevertheless, “The Stifle Tower” is a definite defensive stalwart that should remain as a factor moving forward, particularly in the Nuggets series as he is tasked to help contain Nikola Jokic. His rim protection translates instant opportunities for the offense, and it’s on to new heights with Anthony Edwards rapidly rising into stardom, Karl-Anthony Towns complementing it nicely, and the rest of the supporting cast meshing their abilities together. 

Gobert is bound to generate more confidence from taking home the DPOY yet again, and we will see that with this play on the floor. It’s another aspect that should lift the T-Wolves further.