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Rudy Gobert named as finalist for Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved

Rudy Gobert is a finalist for two different regular season awards.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gobert has been named a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award and the Most Improved Player award. For the first time the NBA is naming finalists for their regular season awards that they will be presenting at an end of the year ceremony hosted by Drake. Rudy Gobert had been in the discussion for Most Improved Player and Defensive Player last year, but ultimately name recognition, the Greek Freak, and Kawhi Leonard limited his chances.

This year he faces the same competition for those same awards.

Defensive Player of the Year Award Finalists

Rudy Gobert

Draymond Green

Kawhi Leonard

Most Improved Player of the Year Award Finalists

Rudy Gobert

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Nikola Jokic


Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors - Game One Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Omitted from these awards is Quin Snyder. Many feel that Quin Snyder was slighted from this list. Erik Spoelstra made the list for his efforts in Miami for turning their season around and finishing the season with a 30-11 record. I feel conflicted about this. Not because I don’t feel he’s deserving, but Quin Snyder’s masterful job of coaching Utah through a myriad of injuries and still winning 51 games is incredibly overlooked. Not many coaches could have survived injuries to almost their entire starting 5 throughout the season let alone garnered a 5 seed in a very competitive Western Conference.

On the other hand, many Jazz fans were witness to one of the greatest coaching feats of all time when Jerry Sloan in 2003-2004 coached a group of no names headlined by Andrei Kirilenko, Raul Lopez, Raja Bell, and Mo Williams and guided them to a 42-40 record barely missing the playoffs. This was team predicted to break the 76ers’s record worst record yet Jerry Sloan coached the hell out of this group and barely missed the playoffs. With that history many Jazz fans have the highest respect for what Spoelstra did. But in this year’s season, Quin Snyder’s degree of difficulty rivaled Spoelstra’s talent deprived lineup. But at the end of the day this was a toss-up.

The candidate that I feel should have not been there this year was Greg Popovich. I whole heartedly believe he is at the level of a Jerry Sloan and a Hall of Famer. He is the one of the great ones. But had the Utah Jazz been healthy Utah’s a 60 win team. Without Quin Snyder, Utah would have been a 40 win team. I’m not sure that can be said about the San Antonio Spurs with players like Gasol, Aldridge, and Leonard. But when you’re looking at the best coaching jobs of the season, it’s really splitting hairs.