Shaquille O’Neal thinks Bam Adebayo should win DPOY over Rudy Gobert

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Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami Heat champions Shaquille O’Neal and Mario Chalmers showed current Heat big man Bam Adebayo some love, saying that he should win Defensive Player of the Year over Rudy Gobert.

Chalmers said that he thinks Adebayo is a top-25 player in the league and admitted he believes Gobert is overrated on defense. O’Neal then offered some thoughts of his own.

“I never thought he was a great defensive player either,” O’Neal said of Gobert. “See, what it is is there’s not a lot of centers that are making him play defense. He not doing that s— against Joker (Nikola Jokic) ‘cause he has to be engaged.

“But when he’s going against another guy — he’s 7’6”. Of course if you lay it up, he gon’ block it.

“But defense to me is guard that f—– and shut him down. You wanna impress me? Hold Joker under 15 points. All that weakside blocking shot, that’s cool. But it ain’t gon’ work against guys like me and Joker and [Joel] Embiid.

“What he (Chalmers) talking about with Bam — Bam plays people. He plays the 2, the 3, the 4 and the 5. So, I would give it to him too.”

Adebayo is coming off a matchup against Jokic and the Denver Nuggets that took place on Wednesday in Miami. The Nuggets won that contest 100-88, but Jokic only scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. O’Neal was surely happy seeing the University of Kentucky product keep the two-time MVP in check.

While Chalmers and O’Neal would give Defensive Player of the Year honors to Adebayo over Gobert, that doesn’t seem like it will happen this season.

Although Adebayo is one of the favorites, Gobert has considerably better odds, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Defensive Player of the Year odds

Adebayo’s talents on defense are widely recognized, as he’s earned All-Defense honors four straight seasons. He’s also placed in the top five for Defensive Player of the Year voting in four straight campaigns, though he’s never finished above fourth place.

As for Gobert, he’s won the award three times and been named All-Defense six times. He’s become known for his shot-blocking prowess, while Adebayo tends to switch out onto smaller players and defend more on the perimeter. That’s one reasons why Gobert averages 2.1 blocks per game for his career compared to 0.9 for Adebayo.

It’s no surprise to hear O’Neal pick someone else over Gobert, as the two have gone back and forth over the years. The Hall of Famer recently took another shot at the Minnesota Timberwolves big man recently.

It seems like the war of words between O’Neal and Gobert won’t die down anytime soon.

Adebayo likely is more focused on helping his team secure a spot in the playoffs. Entering Friday’s slate of games, the Heat sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 35-30 record. They are just one game back of the Indiana Pacers, who hold the conference’s final guaranteed playoff spot.

Miami is visiting the Detroit Pistons on Friday and Sunday before playing the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers to finish out their current four-game road trip. Perhaps Adebayo can use these games as a way to improve his candidacy.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate with experience in writing, editing and video production. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.