Fresh off a key defensive play in a win to open a Western Conference semifinal series, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday.
Gobert became the fourth player to win the honor at least three times, joining Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace, whom he has won four times, and Dwight Howard, who is another three-time winner.
Gobert also won the award in the 2017-18 season and the 2018-19 campaign. Of the 100 sports journalists and broadcasters who voted, Gobert, 28, got 84 first-place votes and 464 points.
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was second with 287 points and 15 votes for first place. Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, who won the award after the 2016-17 season, was third with 76 points. A vote for first place was worth five points, with three for a vote for second place and one for third.
Gobert averaged 13.5 rebounds per game and led the NBA with 10.1 defensive rebounds per game. He also led the league with 190 blocked shots and was second in blocks per game with 2.7.
As the Jazz clung to a 112-109 lead in Game 1 of their Western Conference Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, Gobert blocked a last-second 3-point attempt by Marcus Morris Sr. to seal the victory.
Even so, it’s important to note that the vote was based solely on regular season performance.
In a March 14 game against the Warriors, Gobert picked up 28 rebounds to set a season high, and in a March 22 game against the Chicago Bulls, he blocked nine shots to set a career high. in the category.
With Gobert taking up room in the middle of the lane with his height and length, the Jazz finished third in the NBA this season in defensive rating at 107.5. and second for the opponents’ field goal percentage at 44.7.
The Jazz were the only NBA regular season team in the top five for runs scored (116.4) and runs allowed (107.7), thanks in large part to their system built around Gobert locking paint. .