Gordon Monson: Rudy Gobert is the best defender on the planet. Nudged by numbskulls, he and the Jazz will be even better now

Gobert and the Jazz responded after Minnesota’s Patrick Beverley and Anthony Edwards criticized the three-time DPOY’s abilities this week

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) as the Utah Jazz host the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

It comes as no surprise that the best defender in the world defends himself just as well.

Rudy Gobert, the Perry Mason of the hardwood, was eloquent and convincing in his comments after a couple of Minnesota players nowhere near his station — Patrick Beverly and Anthony Edwards — infamously took shots at the Jazz center, and they might as well have been driving to the rim with Gobert standing in front of it.

Get that weak s—- out of here.

This confrontation wasn’t even fair.

As you know by now, after the T-wolves got crushed by the Jazz the other night, Beverly prattled on about Gobert not matching up against Karl-Anthony Towns and Edwards about the three-time defensive player of the year not being as formidable a defender as Kristaps Porzingis.

First of all, those last words would be worthy of a punch to the lips delivered on the part of any self-respecting big man in the NBA. Second, they are laughable.

As Gobert’s teammates have since hinted, those comments make you wonder about not just the mental capacities of Beverly and Edwards, but their insecure outlook on what winning basketball should look like.

Whispers around the league by a handful of players who battle similar vacuous challenges, athletes who rank machismo above championship basketball, indicate that Beverly and Edwards are not completely alone in their weak outlook.

Let’s say it all plain here: Any NBA player who criticizes Gobert for the very thing he does best, better than anyone else on the planet, is a confused individual.

As reported earlier by Jazz beat writer Eric Walden, Gobert responded to the criticism with words that were sweet symbolism for the extension of his intercontinental reach to swat away a shot attempt.

His words got all ball.

They were and are so good, they bear repeating.

“It’s not the first time people have taken shots at me for no reason,” Gobert said. “I come in every single night to help my team win, and be the best Rudy I can be. I never take shots at anyone. I just focus on myself. I think it’s just … when you’re the best in the world at something, people become insecure and try to discredit what you do in some kind of way. … People are going to try to discredit what I do, what we do as a team. It’s been the same my whole career. I’m going to just keep winning awards, winning trophies, and hopefully help my team win something bigger than that.”

He added: “I tell Quin, I’m good with guarding anyone. I trust the game plan. When you win by 30 points, the game plan is pretty good.”


“What people need to understand is we’re not playing a pickup game in the park. It’s not a one-on-one game. When I’m out there, I’m not guarding one guy, I’m guarding the whole team. It’s hard to understand for some guys. They get used to just being able to impact one guy at a time. I’m trying to guard a whole team.”

The defense rests.

Court is adjourned.

Better said, the defense never rests.

Gobert does exactly what he’s asked to do by Quin Snyder, which is exactly what Snyder said in reaction to the T-wolves’ comments.

More often than not, when Gobert is made to look bad at the defensive end, it’s because he was busy stopping somebody else’s man who had gotten loose, enabling his own to get some business done.

It’s a funny thing about greatness, especially when it comes from an athlete who gains it by doing things a little differently than the norm. At some point, almost everyone will see Rudy Gobert as one of the best defenders to ever play the game. Almost everyone. More than do so today. And as time passes, and the trophies stack up, the words of two Timberwolves and the whispers of others will fade away, or if they are remembered, it will only be for their ridiculousness, their idiocy.

Gobert, in his near-regal manner, knows this.

One other thing. The Jazz may want to thank Beverly and Edwards at some point for their remarks, given that even greatness needs a nudge now and again. They won’t admit it, but consider the Jazz and their DPOY properly nudged.

Nudged forward in their pursuit of, as the Perry Mason of the hardwood said it, “winning something bigger.”