Fresh off sealing a Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals with a block, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz has joined some elite company.
It was announced on Wednesday that the center has won the 2020-21 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, beating out fellow finalists Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.
For Gobert, this represents his third career Defensive Player of the Year award, joining only three other players in NBA history with that many. Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace and Dwight Howard are the three other players to accomplish that feat. Mutombo and Wallace each have four.
The Jazz surprised Gobert with the trophy in their locker room on Wednesday.
Gobert, 28, helped lead the Jazz to a league-best 52-20 regular-season record and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They finished third in the NBA in points allowed and fourth in defensive rating. Obviously, the Stifle Tower was one of the primary reasons for that.
A two-time All-Star, Gobert recorded 13.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game during the regular year. He finished with a defensive win shares of 5.2 — the highest in the Association. For comparison’s sake, Ben Simmons (3.3) and Draymond Green (4.6) lagged behind him.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting: Rudy Gobert comes out on top
|Rudy Gobert||Utah Jazz||464|
|Ben Simmons||Philadelphia 76ers||287|
|Draymond Green||Golden State Warriors||76|