Never two without three.
For the third time in four years, Rudy Gobert inherits the title of best defender in the NBA in 2021, after 2018 and 2019. He succeeds Giannis Antetokounmpo on the list and joins a very closed club: only Dikembe Mutumbo, Ben Wallace (four times ) and Dwight Howard (three times) have landed the timpani three or more times.
"It's a team effort, reacted the French international hub of Utah, on
. It takes hardness, work and devotion. You have to have the desire, every day, to ensure that your team is the best possible on this side of the field. You need an organization, technical staff and teammates who believe in me every day. And I give them back their confidence. " Rather twice than… Thanks to the performance of their Frenchy, former 27th pick in the 2013 Draft, the Salt Lake City-based team is one of the strongest in the League. The Jazz also finished first in the regular season NBA standings (52v-20d), a first since the Malone & Stockton years. “We don't have the feeling that we have done much so far, we want to win the title,” he proclaims.
Obviously, Utah isn't just Rudy Gobert. There is also Donovan Mitchell, author of 45 points Tuesday night in the victory over the Clippers in the second round of the play-offs (112-109), a staff led by coach Quin Snyder and a whole group, as deep in talented, including experienced Mike Conley, best sixth man of the season Jordan Clarkson and a whole load of shooters. “
Clearly, I feel that we have a collective level of concentration. From incumbents to replacements, everyone has the feeling of being part of the collective, of making their contribution. When you feel that everyone is concentrated like that ...
”, savored the native of Saint-Quentin (Aisne) last February, in the columns of
But still: with the Gobert control tower in the racket, everything is bound to be simpler.
"When the players try to attack me, it's up to me to show that I'm there, and that translates into more blocks, quite simply"
Gobert, 28, is 14.3 rebounds, 13.5 rebounds (2nd in the NBA) and 2.7 blocks (1st) on average.
Not that impressive?
Except that the impact of the French is not judged only in these figures.
And the deterrence that he provokes by his mere presence in the painting is enormous ... Believing that he has "never been so impacting this season defensively", the one who is nicknamed "The Stifle Tower" or "The French Rejection ”thus describes his influence on the defensive plan and the“ course ”he has taken:“
There are matches where I don't play against but where I find myself better defensively than in other games where I finish with four or five blocks. It's a question of placement. There are players who will not even try to shoot when they see me ... They will pass, make a walk, an offensive foul ... And in the end, it's even better than a block because we have the ball directly!
"Gobert, however, made 190 blocks in 2020-21, at least 31 more than any other player ..."
Some players try more than others to attack me. When the players try to attack me, it's up to me to show that I'm there, and that translates into more counters, quite simply,
”he smiled last April, during a videoconference.
In the dying seconds of Game 1 against the Clippers on Tuesday, Marcus Morris had no choice but to try to shoot against Gobert. The Jazz were three points ahead in the closing seconds and the LA player was looking for a position for an award-winning shot. The tricolor pivot has spread its wings and struck a cons that will go down in history, just to shed more light on its qualities before receiving this trophy for best defender. Note that he inherited 84 first places out of 100 and 464 points. Enough to be well ahead of Ben Simmons (Philadelphia, 287 points) and Draymond Green (Golden State, 76 points), his first two pursuers. The former Choletais hadElsewhere received a few votes - a fourth place and five fifth places for a total of 20 units - in the record of the vote for the title of MVP, finally awarded to the Serbian pivot of Denver Nikola Jokic on Monday. In summary, Gobert did not steal his trophy, he who celebrated his second selection for the All Star Game in Atlanta at the start of the year.
Rejected at Insep, drafted relatively low and used very little during his very first season in the NBA, in 2013-14, Rudy Gobert has never had a gift on the floors. We remember his tears in 2019, after being snubbed for the All Star Game. We have not forgotten the criticisms after his positive test for Covid-19, the first proven case in the NBA, last year. Behind, Gobert experienced difficult times, threats and the mistrust of part of the Jazz locker room. But that's in the past. What he has he has been looking for. That didn't stop the gossips from chuckling when the Frenchman signed an XXL contract for $ 205 million over five years at the start of the season. "
Afterwards, I know my worth,my team knows my worth and people who know basketball know my worth
», He said to
at the beginning of the year.
For the rest, the agent has not changed the Gobert ant.
Besides, he does not forget where he comes from.
And especially not his mother, Corinne.
She made a lot of sacrifices so that I could do what I love.
She believed in me.
I grew up in a small town in France, I wasn't especially supposed to be there… If you had asked me when I started basketball, I wouldn't have believed I would win the title of best NBA defender.
It's exceptional… She gave me everything, she taught me to be a good person and I wouldn't be here without her
”, he tells
. It remains to be seen how far Gobert and his little Utah comrades will go this season. Until the first coronation in the history of the franchise? Answer in a few weeks, just before seeing the number 27 of Jazz join the Blues for the Tokyo Olympics.