"Give your trophies back" - Gilbert Arenas calls out Rudy Gobert's DPOY recognition amid Timberwolves defensive slump

Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert's DPOY gets questioned by Gilbert Arenas amid the Timberwolves' defensive struggles

To be down 0-3 in the postseason is a tough pill to swallow for any playoff team, such is the case for Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves. During an episode of "Gil's Arena," Minnesota's defensive struggles in limiting Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving's offensive efforts have led to Gilbert Arenas questioning Gobert's Defensive Player of the Year award.

Following the team's success in getting past the Denver Nuggets in the semifinal round, they have not garnered the same results against the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Final. Minnesota's offensive struggles have come to light during this matchup, however, some have also pointed out the team's questionable coverages against Doncic and Irving.

"I don't need you to be a great help side defender," Arenas said, "that trophy says Defensive Player of the Year. Not help side defender. That means all-inclusive b****. ... If they take you out of the game dog, you should give your trophies back."

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During the 2023-24 regular season, Gobert was a catalyst in the team securing the number-one ranked defense across the league. However, opposing teams have made the proper adjustments to limit Gobert's defensive capabilities.

Similar to what Denver did in the second-round series, the Mavericks have emphasized forcing Gobert to guard in space, which has led to the team's rim protection being vulnerable.

With how elite Doncic and Irving are when it comes to their shotmaking ability, better offense often gets the advantage in these kinds of situations.

Kendrick Perkins has second thoughts about voting for Rudy Gobert to win DPOY award

There has been a strong discourse surrounding Rudy Gobert's defensive ability in the NBA Playoffs. Interestingly, Kendrick Perkins shared that he is having second thoughts about placing his DPOY award on the Timberwolves big man.

"I have the biggest regret in my media career," Perkins said. "... I'm retired from voting for individual awards, regular season awards because I have done a disservice using my voting rights. Me voting this season for Rudy Gobert [for DPOY] is an embarrassment for me."

Compared to the regular season, the postseason boils down to matchups and adjustments. During this playoff run by Minnesota, Denver and Dallas have found it advantageous to move Gobert away from the rim.

So far against the Mavericks, Minnesota's coaching staff has not found the proper counter to his tactic. Be that as it may, Gobert being benched during crunch time has also been placed under the spotlight. For a player with his defensive-caliber, his offensive limitations have also been a point of attack by Dallas's defense.

With his team's backs up against the wall, it's up to Gobert how he will respond amid all the criticisms surrounding him.

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