Shaq disrespectful Gobert comments fuel Wembanyama's DPOY argument

Shaq's abrasive comments about the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner, Rudy Gobert, benefit San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Victor Wembanyama, Jeremy Sochan
Victor Wembanyama, Jeremy Sochan / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

Spurs fans have been able to watch some of the most exciting basketball seen in San Antonio in years this season. Yes, the season has been littered with anti-climatic finishes and dismal performances, but the exhilaration afforded by Victor Wembanyama's dynamic playstyle cannot be denied.

The greatness displayed by the young French star has not just been on offense—watching a player with his measurements handle the ball like a 6'2 point guard with a silky-looking jumper he can make from anywhere—but his defense has been transcendent. With the stock numbers he has been putting up, one would think that he is obviously the best defender in the league, but the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year is Rudy Gobert, despite a defensive style reliant on others.

NBA legend, Shaquille O'Neal, was on his podcast with former Miami Heat champion, Mario Chalmers and NBA-on-TNT host Adam Lefkoe, discussing this very subject.

Some traditions need change and it starts with Wembanyama

There is only one NBA award that should take team success into consideration: the MVP. Every other honor should be strictly selected based on individual merit. Saying "a rookie has never won it before" is not a good enough reason to deny what your eyes are telling you. Gobert is very clearly not a better defender than Victor or Bam Adebayo, for that matter. But Adebayo is not even close to putting up the numbers Wembanyama has, making Wemby the should-be frontrunner.

Michael Wright for wrote an article about this subject on March 10th. In the piece, he revealed that since the All-Star Break, Victor Wembanyama had blocked 37 shots and logged 16 steals through seven games, compared to 22 blocks and 5 steals for Rudy Gobert at that time, despite playing one more game than the Spurs number one pick. If the numbers were closer, Gobert would have a case, but he is getting ridiculously outpaced. There is no need to lie about it.