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Rudy Gobert believes he ‘triggers’ lots of NBA players

Rudy Gobert NBA
Rudy Gobert was voted the league’s most overrated player amongst his peers. (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Rudy Gobert believes he ‘triggers’ lots of NBA players

The 2024 anonymous player poll was released Monday by The Athletic, where 142 total players responded to myriad questions, such as MVP favorite, NBA Title favorite and which NBA player they would like to fight the least.

One of the 16 questions polled was who the players thought was the most overrated. According to the poll, 81 players responded to this specific question (not every player responded to every question), with Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert receiving the most votes (11 of the 81, 13.6 percent). Washington’s Jordan Poole was second, garnering seven votes (8.6 percent) while Atlanta’s Trae Young received six votes.

Gobert, being self-aware, has known he isn’t particularly well-liked by players. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, he offered his perspective as to why that’s the case.

“In their eyes, I’m more like the odd guy from France that’s winning a lot of awards, and it can bother people,” Gobert said, according to MacMahon. “I impact the games in a very unique way. It’s maybe not as cool or not as flashy as some other guys, so it’s sometimes harder for them to respect that.

“I just think I’m just mostly misunderstood. I think I trigger a lot of these guys.”

Gobert infamously rubbed people’s microphones–jokingly–in a press conference before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the league in March of 2020. I’m not sure how many players that rubbed the wrong way, nor do I know how many are still upset at him for that, but it certainly didn’t help his leaguewide reputation–whether he was fairly criticized at the time or not.

“That it came from a good intention,” Gobert said in an ESPN interview with Lisa Salters in Dec. of 2020. “It was the first day that we found out that the media was not going to be able to interview us, right next to us, and, you know, we obviously didn’t know as much as we know now, and I only did that to try to liven the mood a little bit.

“If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do it.”

Gobert has been criticized for his style of play. Defensively, he’s one of the best rim protectors in the sport, but hasn’t typically defended well in space; his defenses have typically funneled everything specifically to him. That style hasn’t always transitioned into the playoff, where teams–looking at you, Clippers–have gone 5-out and forced Gobert to cover more space, leading to open 3-point opportunities.

Though if you’re a polished defensive player and haven’t received enough recognition (i.e. Bam Adebayo), I can see how one could use that as a slight against you, whether it’s fair or not.

Gobert is likely on his way to winning his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award in seven seasons, averaging 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks for arguably the league’s best defense. He’s No. 8 in block percentage and No. 7 in defensive rebounding percentage, but leads the NBA in defensive win shares for the third time in his career.

Offensively, the 7-foot-1 big doesn’t have an array of post moves or doesn’t space the floor. He’s a good screen-and-roll threat who can vertically space and clean up offensive rebounds for putbacks. That’s the extent of his job; Gobert’s not incredibly skilled, but he does his job.

Perhaps his demeanor around other players or his personality has rubbed some the wrong way, too. To me, he doesn’t seem like a bad individual, but he’s not a popular individual. Perhaps others think he’s too flawed or his skillset is overrated. It also be a combination of multiple things.

Who knows what is is, honestly. In your eyes, should he be considered the most overrated player? Let us know in the comments!

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