After taking home back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards, Rudy Gobert put himself in some fine company. He became the 10th player in NBA history to win the award multiple times, and just the second Jazz player in franchise history to do so. He joined a stout group of all-time defenders that include Dikembe Mutumbo, Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard, Mark Eaton, Kawhi Leonard, Sidney Moncrief, Alonzo Morning, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Dennis Rodman. Gobert without a doubt has cemented himself as one of, if not the best big man defender of this decade. The way he completely neutralizes some of the league’s best finishers at the rim is something that has the whole league taking note, which is one the reasons why he’s back-to-back DPOY.
Back-to-back— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 25, 2019
Rudy Gobert wins his second DPOY pic.twitter.com/ACVKC49CT9
After winning a 2nd straight #NBAAwards #DPOY Rudy Gobert thanked all the right people, especially Mom! #TeamIsEverything #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/8fbN5Lw8R3— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) June 25, 2019
But looking past these great accomplishments for just a moment, the future might be even brighter for Rudy Gobert. What is the ceiling of Rudy Gobert’s legacy? Could he achieve the highest honor in hoops, that of being named to the Basketball Hall of Fame? It might not be as far-fetched as you think.
Of the ten players to win DPOY more than once, five have already been inducted (Moncrief will be enshrined later this year) into the Hall of Fame (Mutumbo, Moncrief, Morning, Olajuwon, Rodman). Three of the five that have not been inducted yet are still current players in today’s NBA (Leonard, Howard, Gobert) which just leaves Mark Eaton and Ben Wallace. Both Eaton and Wallace received their first tastes of Hall of Fame glory earlier this year when both appeared on initial ballots. Ben Wallace advanced to be a finalist, but ultimately both were left off the final list. These two will both probably eventually make it in, but Wallace probably has a better shot considering his resume and the fact that he was an NBA champion. The bottom line here is that all past players to win multiple DPOY awards have either already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, or are close to breaking into it. The three current players, Kawhi Leonard, Dwight Howard, and Rudy Gobert, are in great company and in pretty good position to solidfy themselves as future hall of famers. Kawhi is pretty much a lock at this point after winning his second championship as well as Finals MVP, and Dwight Howard currently has a 99 percent chance of getting inducted according to Basketball Reference’s HOF Probability Calculator.
So, now we’re left with Rudy Gobert. How does Rudy measure up while comparing with these other multi-DPOY winners that aren’t in the hall of fame?
Kawhi Leonard: 2 DPOY - 3x All-Star - 2x Champion - 5x All-Def - 2x Finals MVP - 3x All-NBA
Mark Eaton: 2 DPOY - 1-All-Star - 5x All-Defense - 4x Block Champion
Dwight Howard: 8x All-Star - 5x All-Defense 8x All-Nba
Ben Wallace: 4 DPOY - 4 All-Star - 5 All-NBA - 6 All-Defense - 1x Champion
Rudy Gobert: 2 DPOY - 3x All-Defense - 2x All-nba
His resume is currently a bit weaker than most of them, but he’s still got plenty of time in his young career to bolster it. As far as stats go, Rudy’s right up there with them. Over his career he averages more blocks per game than Dwight Howard and Ben Wallace, at 2.2/game. He has the highest win shares per 48 minutes of any of these bigs, as well as second highest BLK%.
Full player comparison tool here: http://bkref.com/tiny/C5svJ
The best thing that Rudy Gobert can do to get to the Hall of Fame is keep doing his thing. The longer he can stretch his reign as the best defensive player in the league, the higher his odds are at making it to the Hall. Winning an NBA Championship would also be nice. Based on how other multi-DPOY winners have ended up, it’s safe to assume that Gobert is on the right track towards an incredible career that might just end up in the Hall of Fame. For now, let’s just enjoy these DPOY trophies.