“$250 million for an average of 12 points”, this NBA legend pays (again) Rudy Gobert

If Rudy Gobert is one of the best defenders in the league, he doesn't just have admirers.

“$250 million for an average of 12 points”, this NBA legend pays (again) Rudy Gobert

If Rudy Gobert is one of the best defenders in the league, he doesn't just have admirers.

Three times best defender of the year in the NBA, the French pivot of the Minnesota Timberwolves Rudy Gobert is one of the stars of the league at this position. This year again, his team's defensive system, entirely organized around him, works wonders and the Wolves are the best defense in the NBA. The French pivot is also the favorite to win a fourth Defender of the Year title, despite competition from French rookie Victor Wembanyama. Gobert could then join Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace, the only two players to win four DPOYs.

However, Rudy Gobert is not unanimous, particularly among former NBA players, particularly Americans. We had already heard Gilbert Arenas criticize the defense of European players, with controversial remarks. He notably called for "banning European players from the league", provoking numerous reactions, including that of former French international Kevin Séraphin.

Another historic NBA player, and even a legend of the league since he is a four-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP, recently criticized Rudy Gobert. This is former Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal. Despite the recognition of the Frenchman's work by other NBA pundits, "Shaq" does not see Gobert as a great defender. In his podcast, he notably explained that he had "never thought he was a great defensive player" before adding "he's 2.28m! Of course, if you make a lay-up, he'll block him. But for me, defense is to hold your opponent and silence him." As is often the case when he criticizes Rudy Gobert, the former Lakers All-Star attacked his contract. "If I was 42, I would make Rudy Gobert's money. 12 points and 8 rebounds? I could do that now. That's not a criticism, it's a fact. A guy who makes 250 million dollars? Damn. With an average of 12 points."

This is not the first time that “Shaq” has directly attacked Rudy Gobert since signing his contract in 2020, for 205 million dollars, and not 250. With more or less good faith, he several times highlighted the Frenchman's contract to imply that he was not at the latter's level.

The repeated criticisms of Shaquille O'Neal should not be followed up on, the Frenchman has gotten into the habit of not responding to his attacks, and is content to respond with his defense and the impact he has on his team. After leading an elite defense at Utah for several years, it is now in Minnesota that he should win a Defender of the Year title, and lead the team to the top of the Western Conference. The Minneapolis team is currently 3rd in the regular season.

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