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Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert has been named the 2023-24 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday. Gobert has now won the award four times, tying him with former Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace and former Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers big man Dikembe Mutombo for the most of all time. Gobert previously won the award three times in four seasons: 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21. Those three wins came with Gobert as a member of the Utah Jazz.

Bam Adebayo of the Heat and Victor Wembanyama of the Spurs (who won Rookie of the Year honors on Monday night) were the two other finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. The award is just part of a busy week for Gobert, whose Timberwolves have a 2-0 lead in their second-round series against the reigning champion Nuggets. Gobert is averaging 13.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game so far in Minnesota's playoff run. However, he missed Game 2 for personal reasons after the birth of his first child on Monday.

Gobert received 72 first-place votes, comfortably beating Wembanyama, who had 19 first-place votes and finished in second place. Here are the full voting results:

In the summer of 2022, Gobert was traded to the Wolves, and a shaky first season away from the Jazz suggested that another trophy was not especially likely. Gobert did not receive a single vote for Defensive Player of the Year or All-Defense last season.

But this season was different from the jump. Minnesota ranked No. 1 in defense wire-to-wire and ended the season having allowed only 108.4 points per 100 possessions, more than two fewer than any other team. Gobert was at the literal and figurative center of that success. He blocked 2.1 shots per game, below his previous peaks, but still near the top of the league this season. 

The Timberwolves allowed opponents to take only 24 shots per game in the restricted area, the fifth-lowest mark in the league, and those opponents shot only 63% there, the third-lowest mark in basketball. Gobert remains one of the NBA's most fearsome rim-protectors, and Minnesota's defense has continued to lock down opponents in these playoffs.

Still, Gobert faced stiff competition from Wembanyama, his fellow Frenchman. The No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft averaged a league-high 3.6 blocks per game, and by the end of the season, his stats were even more ridiculous. Rookies rarely compete for this award. Players on 22-60 teams never do. But Wembanyama made a genuine run at it, and even if he always knew Gobert would win, he's ready to take over the race next year.

"I know that Rudy [Gobert] has a very good chance of winning it this year and it would be deserved," Wembanyama said in French. "Let him win it now because after that, it's no longer his turn."

Wembanyama will almost certainly enter next season as the Defensive Player of the Year ffavorite, and this summer, he and Gobert will terrify opposing offenses together as the starting front-court for France's Olympic team. For now, though, the spotlight remains with Gobert, who just made history with his fourth Defensive Player of the Year trophy.