With less than 20 games left in the regular season, media members are thinking extra hard about who to write up in their ballots for the NBA’s individual awards. With regard to the Defensive of the Year plum, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green are once again at the top of the rankings. Given this reality, the media is once again trying to pit the two stalwarts against one another. However, Gobert is not falling into this trap.
Not talking about Green
Like the rest of his fellow NBA players, Gobert is a competitor by nature. He is on pace to claim his fourth Defensive of the Year trophy, which continuously motivates Rudy to lay out his best defensive stance every possession. This is the method he chooses. He wants to let his play do the talking instead of talking down on his fellow candidates, even if it involves Draymond Green — one of his fiercest rivals. In fact, he has nothing but respect for the Warriors forward.
“I’m not talking about him. When I see him in person, he’s always really nice and respectful. So as long as that stays the same. I think that what’s being said about me on podcasts, it’s not just Draymond, it’s a lot of guys that try to discredit what I do every night, who I am as a player. It’s part of it. But for me, I will always take it as respect. If I was an average defensive player, an average player, they wouldn’t talk about me. I will always take it as respect,”
Rudy Gobert said, an interview with Taylor Rooks.
Rooks’ questions were in response to Green’s antics over the past month. During the All-Star game, the Inside the NBA crew asked Green for his thoughts on Gobert. The three-time champ ranted on how they cannot mention his name in the same sentence with the French man, noting that “we’re not alike.”
Apart from this, Green believes that he can still win the DPOY plum despite playing lesser games than the other candidates. The man is gregariously promoting himself to the extreme to win his second DPOY trophy.
Gobert doubles down
With Green getting all this extra media mileage, it would be understandable if Gobert finally speaks his mind and declare why he is still the league’s best defender. But once again, he refuses to feed more fuel into the Gobert-Green narrative.
“Once again, when I talk about Draymond, or anyone else, I show respect. If these guys want to disrespect me, it’s their choice. I’m a quiet person and some guys are different, and they’re going to express their mind and it’s fine. People love beef. Beef generates more interaction. I get it. But I’m chilling. I don’t have beef with anyone,” Gobert said.
One can say that Gobert’s methods are boring. Clapping back at Draymond would surely generate more interest and bring attention to his game. But unlike most players in the NBA, Gobert lets his game do the talking. That’s just how he rolls.