Report: Timberwolves' Rudy Gobert wins fourth Defensive Player of the Year award

Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves
Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The best defender on the best defensive team in the league has been named the 2023-24 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is now the third player in NBA history to win the prestigious award on four occasions.

Gobert's first win came in 2018. The star defender averaged 2.3 blocks per game while leading the NBA's best defense that season. Gobert's Utah Jazz led the league in defensive rating and allowed the lowest points per game.

The French big man's second win came a year later. In the 2018-19 season, Gobert averaged 2.3 blocks per game once again on a top-three defense. Prior to this season's victory, Gobert's last DPOY came in 2021.

Gobert once again anchored a top-three defense while averaging a career-high 2.7 blocks per game. The former Jazz big man perhaps played his best individual defensive campaign in 2020-21. He forced opponents to shoot 7.9 percent worse from the field and a remarkable 13.6 percent worse from the restricted area—he led the league in both categories.

This year, Gobert averaged 2.1 blocks per game, the ninth time in his career averaging more than two rejections per game. Gobert's individual defense sparked the best team defense in the association. After posing as a mediocre defense a season ago, the Timberwolves were by far away the best defense in the NBA this past season and into the playoffs.

Minnesota was tops in the league in defensive rating and opponent's points per game. The Wolves ranked fifth in blocks and defensive rebounds, and sixth in steals. Without Gobert playing the pivot, the league's best defense was nearly four points worse per 100 possessions.

Gobert's impressive defense has carried into the postseason. Now 6-0, the Wolves are one of four teams to allow less than 100 points per game. Minnesota also ranks in the top five in defensive rating, defensive rebounding percentage, and opponent's turnovers per game.

The Wolves center's win came against San Antonio Spurs' rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama and the Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo. Gobert received 72 of 99 first-place votes to secure one of the league's highest honors. Wembanyama came in second, as he received 19 first-place votes and 24 second-place votes.

After missing last night's game due to the birth of his son, the next time Gobert will get to demonstrate his defensive prowess is on Friday night, back in Minneapolis. Tune in to watch Gobert and the Wolves battle the Denver Nuggets at 8:30 p.m. CT.