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Utah Jazz All-Time Defensive Player of the Year Winners

A comprehensive list of every Jazzman who won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Utah Jazz Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images

The Defensive Player of the Year award first began in the 1982-1983 NBA Season. Since that time, the Utah Jazz have had two players win the award two times each. Here is the full list of players and the years they won the award.

Mark Eaton, 1984-1985

Utah Jazz Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Mark Eaton 1984-1985 Stats

Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1984-85 28 82 82 34.3 3.7 8.2 0.449 0 0 3.7 8.2 0.449 0.449 2.3 3.3 0.712 2.5 8.8 11.3 1.5 0.4 5.6 2.5 3.8 9.7
Career 875 815 28.8 2.4 5.2 0.458 0 0 0 2.4 5.2 0.458 0.458 1.2 1.9 0.649 2.1 5.8 7.9 1 0.4 3.5 1.5 3.4 6
Basketball-Reference.com

In the 1984-1985 season, Mark Eaton won his first Defensive Player of the Year award at age 28. Quick fact: he entered the league at age 26. He averaged 5.6 blocks a game while playing all 82 games. Mark averaged 34.3 minutes a game that season. What’s even more remarkable is the prior season he only averaged 26.1 minutes a game but still had 4.3 blocks a game. It’s insane. Mark averaged 11.3 rebounds a game while scoring 9.7 points. Mark also set the record of 456 blocks in a season which still stands as an NBA record to this day. He also had an NBA best 97 defensive rating for the 1984-1985 season.

The Utah Jazz went 41-41 that season, made the playoffs, and made it all the way to the Conference Semifinals before losing to the Denver Nuggets in 5 games.

Mark Eaton, 1988-1989

Mark Eaton

Mark Eaton, 1988-1989 Stats

Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1988-89 32 82 82 35.5 2.3 5 0.462 0 0 2.3 5 0.462 0.462 1.6 2.4 0.66 2.8 7.5 10.3 1 0.5 3.8 1.7 3.5 6.2
Career 875 815 28.8 2.4 5.2 0.458 0 0 0 2.4 5.2 0.458 0.458 1.2 1.9 0.649 2.1 5.8 7.9 1 0.4 3.5 1.5 3.4 6
Basketball-Reference.com

In 1988-1989, Mark Eaton won his second defensive player of the year award at age 32. He became the 2nd player in the NBA to win two or more DPOY awards. That season he averaged 3.8 blocks, 6.2 points, and 10.3 rebounds a game. Crazy enough, he actually had four other seasons in which he averaged more blocks. But blocks is just one part of the game. He averaged the second best defensive rating of his career at 98. The only other season he had a lower defensive rating was 1984-1985 in which he averaged 97. You have to give credit to the voters of the award for noticing his defensive impact with only the eye test as defensive rating was not tracked at the time.

Mark Eaton was even selected as an All-Star this season.

The Utah Jazz that year went 51-31. It was also the same year Jerry Sloan became head coach as Frank Layden stepped down only 17 games into it. The Utah Jazz would end up losing in the first round to the Golden State Warriors in three games.

Rudy Gobert, 2017-2018

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz - Game Four Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Rudy Gobert, 2017-2018 Stats

Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2017-18 25 56 56 32.4 4.9 7.9 0.622 0 0 4.9 7.9 0.622 0.622 3.6 5.3 0.682 2.9 7.8 10.7 1.4 0.8 2.3 1.9 2.7 13.5
Career 406 314 28.7 4.1 6.5 0.629 0 0 0 4.1 6.5 0.629 0.629 3 4.7 0.631 3.2 7.3 10.5 1.3 0.7 2.2 1.6 2.5 11.1
Basketball-Reference.com

In the 2017-2018 NBA season, Rudy Gobert finally got recognition of his defensive performance. The prior year in 2016-2017, he was the runner-up to Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. In his award winning season, Rudy Gobert averaged 15.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks a game while anchoring the NBA’s second best defense. Rudy Gobert battled injuries throughout the season and only played in 56 games that year. It was Utah’s defensive intensity when he returned in January of that season that propelled him to the top of the league’s DPOY discussion.

Fueled by Gobert’s Stifle Tower defense, the Utah Jazz went from being 10 games under .500 in January to the NBA’s 5th seed in the playoffs come April. It still stands as one of the greatest team turnarounds of any NBA team in an NBA season.

The Utah Jazz that year would win 48 games, upset the Oklahoma City Thunder behind Donovan Mitchell’s special rookie performance, and ultimately fall to Chris Paul, James Harden and the Rockets in the second round. Despite the ultimate fall in the second round, it became known as one of the most memorable Jazz seasons to date.

Rudy Gobert, 2018-2019?

Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz - Game Four Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Rudy Gobert, 2018-2019 Stats

Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2018-19 26 81 80 31.8 5.9 8.8 0.669 0 0 5.9 8.8 0.669 0.669 4.1 6.4 0.636 3.8 9 12.9 2 0.8 2.3 1.6 2.9 15.9
Career 406 314 28.7 4.1 6.5 0.629 0 0 0 4.1 6.5 0.629 0.629 3 4.7 0.631 3.2 7.3 10.5 1.3 0.7 2.2 1.6 2.5 11.1
Basketball-Reference.com

Should Rudy Gobert win tonight at the NBA Awards in California, Rudy Gobert would become the 10th NBA player to win the Defensive Player of the Year award two or more times joining an exclusive club that includes Kawhi Leonard, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Dennis Rodman, Hakeem Olajuwon, Mark Eaton, and Sydney Moncrief.

During the 2018-2019 season, Rudy Gobert played 81 games and averaged 15.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. He helped anchor the league’s 2nd best defense while leading the league in Defensive Box Plus/Minus.

Rudy Gobert’s offense improved this season, and he stayed just as efficient on the defensive end where he had a defensive rating of 100. For the second season in a row, he pushed Utah to a spectacular second half of the season run that propelled the Jazz to the 5th seed.

Fun fact: Rudy Gobert has already become the first player in NBA History to be voted on two separate All-NBA teams without making an All-Star team in either year.

The Utah Jazz won 50 games this past season, but ultimately fell to the Houston Rockets in five games.