Rudy Gobert is a Defensive Player of the Year finalist as soon as once more. The award means one thing totally different to the Utah Jazz heart now

Gobert is considered one of three finalists for the award together with Boston’s Marcus Smart and Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Los Angeles Lakers heart Dwight Howard (39) shoots as Utah Jazz heart Rudy Gobert (27) defends, in NBA motion between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers, at Vivint Arena, on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

If Rudy Gobert wins the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award once more this yr, garnering his fourth within the final 5 years, will probably be essentially the most unlikely win of the bunch.

This week, Gobert was named one of many league’s three finalists for the award, together with Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges and Boston’s Marcus Smart. But Gobert is taken into account the underdog to truly win the award, with Smart being thought-about the favourite and Bridges a transparent No. 2.

Maybe that’s OK, although. Gobert stated that he cares much less in regards to the Defensive Player of the Year voting this time round than he did as a youthful participant, again when he was profitable his first in his fifth season.

“When you’re younger, you really put a lot of thought into those things, those little recognitions. You think that’s how you get validation. And it is, in a way, because Defensive Player of the Year is a huge award,” Gobert stated. “For me right now, it’s really — it would be amazing, it’s always great to win it — but I see the bigger picture. And I understand that my legacy will be much more than how many of those I get, my legacy won’t be defined by that. It’ll be defined by who I am off the court and what I win for my team on the court.”

Meanwhile, when fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell was requested about Gobert being named a finalist, he had glowing phrases for his teammate.

“Are you surprised? I’m not. This is something he’s been doing since I got here. He’s a guy that protects the rim, great defensively. I believe he’s going to win it. I think we all believe that, I think he believes that, and I think the biggest thing is he’s showing it,” Mitchell stated.

“Like last game, I think that was the epitome of who he is. What did he have, one shot, two shots last game? And he was one of the most impactful players in the game defensively,” he continued. “And I think that just shows who he is as a player. And he’s grown each year. I hope it’s not a result of voter fatigue, where he doesn’t get the award because he’s been doing it for so long.”

It’s not that Gobert is happy, although.

“I got a little room. I got plenty of room, for a few more actually. But once again, the championship is really where my mind is. If people decide that I deserve to — that the French guy can win a few more DPOY — I get it, but I’m going to keep being the best Rudy that I can be, and see where it takes me, and where it takes us.”

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