Rudy Gobert may be in a new uniform this coming season, but he's in a familiar place once again as the favorite to win Defensive Play of the Year (+600 on BetMGM).
As the Stifle Tower gets set for his first year in Minnesota, it's clear his role will stay the same, especially given what the Timberwolves paid to bring him in.
You know you're getting a rim protector and one of the best rebounders in the NBA, but of course the real question now centers around whether or not he can come away with his fourth win of the award.
It's fair to wonder how he'll fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, who for years was at the center of the debate about whether he needed a true center to play with.
Well, now he has one.
There's plenty that have already looked at this pairing with a raised eyebrow or angry tweet, but honestly I love the fit for Gobert. For one, in a league where very few teams bring this type of talented grouping of 7-footers, you won't find many teams that can match up well just from that standpoint alone.
“The league hasn’t gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. You go small when your bigs aren’t better than the other bigs and I feel pretty confident our bigs are going to be pretty good this year,” said new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
Obviously, from an offensive side of things (which I know doesn't help with this award market much), KAT can now roam the perimeter while Gobert cleans up anything that comes off the rim, while also opening the outside collapsing defenses as a rim-runner.
Defensively though, Gobert brings the shot-blocking Minnesota desperately needed (ranked 19th in the regular season), while also helping a team that was 21st in defensive rebounds.
We already know what Gobert can do, and as long as he brings that same production to the Timberwolves, with their continued rise and his consistent play, another Defense Player of the Year is certainly in the cards for 2023.