Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert feels he’s Defensive Player of the Year: ‘There’s no question’

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert feels he’s Defensive Player of the Year: ‘There’s no question’

SALT LAKE CITY — The confidence of Rudy Gobert is sky high. Why wouldn’t it be?

The Utah Jazz have won seven straight, including 20 of the last 22, and the 7-foot-1 Frenchman has fueled the team to a league-best 95.9 defensive rating, despite missing 26 games with two knee injuries.

“The team had to go through this kind of slump and when I came back the second time I felt I was better,” Gobert said. “I felt like it made everyone better. Everyone got better by going through this moment.”

During the current seven-game win streak, Gobert averages 18.7 points on 65.8 percent shooting with 13.9 boards, 2.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.

He refused to name a better defender than himself and said there’s no doubt in his mind that he should be the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He finished runner-up to Golden State’s Draymond Green in 2016-17.

“To me there’s no question right now,” Gobert said. “Like I said, my goal is to make my teammates better defensively and to make my team better but yeah there’s no question.”

To strengthen his claim, Gobert says he’s improved defensively.

For the season he’s averaging 13.9 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 swats per game but more importantly, he’s altering shots and protecting the rim even without blocking shots.

Footwork is the key.

“I think I’m way quicker on my feet, also my decision making is better so definitely you can see that,” Gobert said.

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Published at Sat, 17 Mar 2018 18:05:00 +0000