Rudy Gobert wins third defensive player of the year award

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert won another defensive player of the year award, the NBA announced on Wednesday. It was the third time that Gobert had won the award in four years. He is the fourth player in league history to earn the honor three times after four-time winners Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace and three-time winner Dwight Howard.

The award was rightly announced a day after the Jazz won the opener of their semi-final series against the Los Angeles Clippers, in part due to a blockage by Gobert at the end. of the regulations.

“I think it takes a team effort,” Gobert said in an interview with TNT’s “Inside The NBA”, moments after being announced as the recipient. “Obviously you need tenacity, mental tenacity. It’s just hard work, dedication. It’s everyday, you have to come with that mindset to try to make your team as good as possible on that side. “

Gobert, 28, was the anchor for Jazz, which had the league’s third best defense and best record. It received 84 first place votes and 464 points in total. Ben Simmons of Philadelphia, the runner-up, had 287 points and 15 votes for first place. About 100 members of the media vote for the award, but the New York Times does not participate.

As a great center who doesn’t shoot or pass well, Gobert is a bit of an anomaly in today’s NBA. Its game is centered on rim protection and soaking. Despite this, two-time star Gobert is one of the league’s most influential players. He was fourth in the NBA in 48-minute win share – basically a statistic estimating how many wins a player contributes to his team. His 13.5 rebounds per game was second in the league behind Atlanta’s Clint Capela. According to league tracking numbers, Gobert defended the most number of edge goal attempts (549) and was among the best in the NBA to effectively challenge those shots.

When Jazz star goalie Donovan Mitchell missed much of the second half of the season with injury, Gobert’s defense helped keep Jazz afloat. Last year there was friction between Mitchell and Gobert after Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, days after appearing to mock it. Gobert’s test sparked the postponement of the season, followed by several other leagues doing the same.

Gobert’s rise to the league is surprising. He was drafted with the 27th pick in the 2013 Draft by the Denver Nuggets outside of France, then was immediately traded to the Jazz, where he exceeded the expectations of those typically drafted at the end of the first round.

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