Shaquille O’Neal ‘Never Thought’ Rudy Gobert Was A ‘Great Defensive Player’

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal took another shot at Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, Shaquille O'Neal

On the latest episode of his podcast, O’Neal said he “never thought” Gobert was a “great defensive player.”

O’Neal has never been a fan of Gobert. The Hall of Famer never shies away from taking shots at the Timberwolves big man.

Gobert has won three Defensive Player of the Year Awards. The 31-year-old has made six All-Defensive teams and four All-NBA teams. He’s averaging 13.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals and 2.1 blocks this season while shooting 64.8% from the field. 

The Timberwolves are in third place in the Western Conference standings with a strong record of 45-21. They are first in the NBA in points per game allowed and first in defensive rating. 

Gobert leads the league this season in defensive rating and defensive win shares. It will be interesting to see if the former Utah Jazz star wins his fourth Defensive Player of the Year Award. 

The NBA recently fined Gobert $100,000 for inappropriate gestures toward game officials. During the Timberwolves’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Gobert made the “money” gesture to the officials after fouling out of the game. Gobert received a technical foul for the gestures.

The league said Gobert’s history of criticizing game officials factored into the size of the fine. Gobert suggested sports betting is influencing how NBA referees are officiating games.

“My reaction, which I think is truth — it’s what I truly believe — even if it’s the truth, it wasn’t the time for me to react that way,” Gobert said, via The Athletic. “I should have not done that. I cost my team the game, and obviously, they couldn’t wait to give me a tech. That was bad. That was an immature reaction.

“I made some mistakes. I air-balled a dunk. Mistakes happen. Referees make mistakes, too. But sometimes I think it’s more than mistakes. I think everyone that’s in this league knows. I think it’s got to get better. … I think it’s hurting our game. I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn’t feel that way.”

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