Against the odds, the Utah Jazz have remained competitive in the Western Conference this season and are once again in the hunt for a playoff position.
Not many people believed this was possible after they lost Gordon Hayward in the summer when he joined the Boston Celtics in free agency.
After owning a losing record in the first half of the campaign and seemingly heading for the lottery, the Jazz enjoyed a huge resurgence and have been one of the best teams in the NBA in recent months.
One major reason for their upturn in fortunes has been the form of Rudy Gobert.
The Frenchman suffered two knee injuries earlier in the campaign that forced him to miss a total of 27 games, but since his return to the lineup, the Jazz haven't missed a beat.
As usual, Gobert has done his best work on the defensive end and is once again showing that he's the best rim protector in the league.
Largely thanks to his presence on the floor, Utah is ranked as the third best defence in the NBA.
Despite missing a chunk of the season through injury, the 'Stifle Tower' is still one of the leading contenders to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.
He finished as the runner-up to Draymond Green last season but the center believes he cannot be overlooked this time around.
In a recent interview, he stated: “To me, there’s no question right now. Like I said, my goal is to make my teammates better defensively and to make my team better, but yeah, there’s no question.”
The 25-year-old reiterated that when speaking to ESPN'S Tim McMahon this week.
"I've been the most impactful player this year," he said. "It's a team game. The Defensive Player of the Year is the guy that makes his team better.
"Not only gets stats, it's the guy that also has an impact on his teammates and leadership. There's a lot of things you don't see on the stats."
The numbers certainly back up Gobert's words. Without him on the court, the Jazz give up 105.3 points but that number shrinks to 97.9 points when he's out there, per ESPN.
"Gobert is a defense unto himself," Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said before his Dallas Mavericks team suffered a loss in Utah last month.
The Mavs' Dwight Powell found this out the hard way in the most recent clash between the two teams as he tried to posterise Gobert but was met at the top by a nasty rejection.
He should've known better than going against a seven-foot giant who averages 2.3 blocks per game.
"His presence on the floor gives us a chance," Snyder said. "He's our most important player as far as how he anchors our team. He's the foundation."
Gobert's influence is clear to see and there can be no arguments if he is finally rewarded for it and crowned DPOY.
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