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Shaquille O’Neal Boldly Says He Doesn’t View Rudy Gobert As a ‘Great Defensive Player’

Shaquille O’Neal has not hesitated to criticize Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert throughout his career.

When Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million deal with the Utah Jazz, O’Neal was among those who loudly voiced that they thought the deal was an overpay. 

On Wednesday, O’Neal was once again discussing the Timberwolves star during a recent episode of The Big Podcast. The 52-year-old claimed that he feels Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and the current runaway favorite to win a fourth this year, is an overrated defender. 

“I never thought he was a great defensive player, either. See, what it is, is there’s not a lot of centers that are making him play defense. Like, he’s not doing that s--- against [Nikola Jokić], because he has to be engaged. But when he’s going against another guy, he’s 7' 6", of course if you lay it up he’s going to block it,” said O’Neal.

“You want to impress me? Hold Joker under 15 points... All that weak-side blocking sh–, it’s cool, but it’s not going to work against guys like me, Joker and [Joel] Embiid,” he added.

As for who he feels deserves the Defensive Player of the Year award this season, O’Neal said he’d currently have Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo ahead of Gobert on his list. 

Despite Gobert’s dominance on the defensive end this season, which has helped Minnesota compete for the top seed in the West, O’Neal still refuses to give the Frenchman his flowers.