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NBA peers show absolutely no love for Rudy Gobert

The Minnesota Timberwolves big man is apparently the most overrated player in the NBA.



Mar 3, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) reacts to a call during the first half against the LA Clippers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) reacts to a call during the first half against the LA Clippers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, three-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA team member. He transformed the Minnesota Timberwolves into the top defense in the NBA this season, in the process helping them land the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. He averaged 14.0 points, 12.9 rebounds (second-best in the league) and 2.1 blocks during the regular season.

He’s also one of the most polarizing players in the league. That goes for fans and, apparently, his fellow NBA peers.

Rudy Gobert voted most overrated player in NBA in anonymous player poll

In an anonymous player poll conducted by The Athletic, Gobert was voted as the most overrated player in the league by his peers, and it wasn’t close. He received 13.6 percent of the votes; Jordan Poole finished second with 8.6 percent.

Is it his lack of playoff success? Gobert has often been forced off the floor during the postseason because of his perceived lack of switchability, which has limited his defensive dominance to the more laid-back regular season.

The Utah Jazz teams that Gobert anchored, however, had more issues on that end of the floor than just their star center. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson are hardly known for their perimeter defense, which often left The Stifle Tower on an island to clean up their mess.

Gobert has become a different player with the Timberwolves

Gobert’s coach in Minnesota, Chris Finch, sings another tune about his big man. Finch believes he’s a versatile asset in the playoffs, not a lumbering liability:

Rudy is a really good defender at all levels. He gets down. He’s big. He can move well and cares. When you get to this moment, there’s nothing to rest him or keep him fresh for. Play him more minutes. You can employ him in different ways.

The 7-footer has become a plus on offense for the Timberwolves, too. In the team’s playoff-opening win over the Phoenix Suns, Gobert scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but most importantly, went 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. That’s not something he was capable of doing in Utah. There’s no hack-a-Rudy going on in Minnesota these days.

Anthony Edwards, whose voice matters more than any other Timberwolves player, was just as effusive about Gobert as Finch was – but about his impact on the offensive end:

We trust to hit him in the pocket. We trust when we call a post up we trust he’s gonna catch it and do his thing. Catch in the pocket, make the one more (pass). Trust him at the free-throw line. Just little things like that, it goes a long way. And he’s been playing his (butt) off.

It’s just trusting Rudy throughout the whole game.

Still, even in his 11th NBA season, it’s clear players across the league haven’t noticed the shift in Gobert’s game.

The other two players who’ve been voted most overrated in The Athletic polls are established villains Draymond Green and Trae Young. Gobert feels like the outlier in that trio.

If he can help Minnesota make a deep playoff run – and stay on the floor late in games while doing it – the narrative could shift. And Gobert recognizes that type of respect must be earned:

We saw it with Giannis (Antetokounmpo), we saw it with Jokić. Everyone always had something to say about their game and about who they were as players until they won a championship. And then what did people have to say after that? Not much. They can only respect. So I have to earn their respect.

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Andrew Hanlon is the Assistant Editor for The Dunk Central. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has been writing about sports professionally for more than a decade. He started out covering local high school sports before transitioning into a full-time NBA connoisseur. He has been published on FanSided, SBNation and Sportscasting.