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Wolves' Rudy Gobert named 2023-24 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is the recipient of the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy as the 2023-24 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, it was announced Tuesday on TNT.

Gobert becomes the third player in NBA history to win the award four times, joining Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace. The Wolves center previously took home the honors in 2020-21, 2018-19 and 2017-18.

The French native is the first player in Timberwolves’ history to win Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Led by Gobert, the Timberwolves had the best defensive rating, allowed the fewest points per game and held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the NBA.  The top-ranked defense helped Minnesota (56-26) post the second-best record in franchise history and earn the No. 3 playoff seed in the Western Conference.

This season, Gobert averaged 14.0 points on 66.1% shooting, a team-best 12.9 rebounds and a team-high 2.13 blocks per contest. His 2.13 blocks were his most blocks per game since 2020-21 (2.68 bpg). He ranked second in the NBA in rebounding (12.9 rpg), second in field goal percentage (.661), second in offensive rebounds (3.8 rpg), fourth in defensive rebounds (9.2 rpg), sixth in blocks (2.13 bpg) and fifth in double-doubles (54).

Gobert received 72 first-place votes.