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Draymond Green, known for his defensive prowess, has expressed his belief that Rudy Gobert deserved to win the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award this season.

In an interview on The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal, Green commended Gobert’s defensive improvement, acknowledging that this year marked the first time he felt Gobert truly deserved the accolade.

Green stated, “I think Rudy Gobert has gotten a lot better defensively now than what he was years ago. This year was actually the first time that I thought he actually deserved to win Defensive Player of the Year.”

Green highlighted Gobert’s versatility and commitment on the defensive end, noting his ability to defend the pick-and-roll, switch, and move his feet effectively, attributes that were evident throughout the season.

Green added, “He was checking, he was getting out, people was bringing him a pick and roll, he was switching, he was moving his feet. It was almost like if you watched him during the year, he took all of the noise that everybody said about him as a defender and took it personal because all the things that he never did he was then all of a sudden doing.”

Reflecting on past seasons, Green admitted to being skeptical about Gobert’s previous DPOY wins, citing concerns over the criteria typically associated with the award, such as blocks and steals.

Green explained, “The Defensive Player of the Year has historically been an award of someone, who gets blocks, someone who gets steals. I actually don’t agree with that.”

The Golden State Warriors veteran shared insights into his team’s approach to facing Gobert, revealing a shift in strategy this season, where Gobert was no longer viewed as a defensive liability but rather a formidable opponent.

Green revealed, “This year was the first year that wasn’t the game plan because all his numbers were through the roof when you put him in actions.”

According to Green, Gobert’s defensive impact went beyond traditional statistics, as he excelled in various aspects of defense, including help defense and rim protection. Green emphasized, “All the things that he never did he was then all of a sudden doing.”