NBA award predictions: Will the Sixers finally get recognized?

Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

2023 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Prediction

86. . . . Rudy Gobert. 1. player

2. Draymond Green, Warriors 

3. Herb Jones, Pelicans

The discourse around Rudy Gobert, who has made four All-NBA teams and won Defensive Player of the Year thrice already, can get tiresome. He has for whatever reason become something of a political football. Certain factions of the NBA fandom revere him while others treat him like an English student treats a math problem.

As someone who adores English and hates math, let me tell you the truth as I see it: Gobert is the greatest defender of his generation. It takes seriously special ability to win four Defensive Player of the Year trophies. I think it will happen.

The Timberwolves are going to win a lot of games. Minnesota will likely field one of the top defenses in the NBA despite real concerns about how Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell will hold up in the new system. Gobert is more than a stiff shot-blocker in the paint. He’s a one-man system who single-handedly reforms how opposing offenses operate. Guards don’t challenge him at the rim. For every highlight of Gobert getting sauced by Devin Booker on the perimeter, there’s a clip of him defending in space before making a crisp rotation inside for the blocked shot.

There will naturally be others in the conversation — Draymond Green would’ve won last season if not for injury and Herb Jones is quickly climbing the ranks of elite perimeter defenders — but this is basically Gobert’s award to lose every season.