For the second year in a row, Rudy Gobert is a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year. This year, however, he enters the award race as the favorite despite not playing a full season. Rudy Gobert, who missed two months of the regular season, dominated in the second half of the season.
Post All-Star break the Utah Jazz were the best defensive team in the league by a wide margin. The difference between the Utah Jazz and the team (Philadelphia 76ers) with the 2nd best defensive rating in the NBA post All-Star break was the same difference between the 2nd best team in defensive rating and the 14th (Orlando Magic).
Rudy Gobert for the season averaged 13.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. Despite playing in only 56 games, his presence catapulted the Utah Jazz up the standings and aided in the Utah Jazz’s miracle comeback season. While Donovan Mitchell gets a lot of credit, and rightfully so, the Utah Jazz don’t make the playoffs nor do they upset the Oklahoma City Thunder without Rudy Gobert’s league best defense.
Along with Rudy Gobert, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis are vying for the award.
The NBA Awards will air on June 25th on TNT.