Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert received some much-deserved hardware for his defense at the NBA Awards Show, capturing the Defensive Player of the Year trophy.
The Utah Jazz received some more recognition for the unlikely success that was their 2017-18 season on Monday. At the annual NBA Awards Show in Santa Monica, California, Jazz center Rudy Gobert won the Association’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Although he lost a third of his season to injuries, the Stifle Tower’s defensive presence was the key to the Jazz’s 48-win campaign, not to mention their first-round playoff series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While offense rules the roost in the Association, Gobert’s defensive prowess is arguably as impressive as Stephen Curry‘s ability to knock down 30-foot 3-pointers or Chris Paul‘s pinpoint passing. Simply put, it wins games — the Jazz closed the year on a 29-6 run after Gobert got healthy.
His impact on the hardwood is so immense, statistics don’t come close to encapsulating it. That said, Gobert’s numbers on D from last season are pretty darn impressive nonetheless.
Here are just a few —
- Led the league in defensive real plus/minus a 5.06.
- Ranked second in individual defensive rating at 99.5.
- His 2.3 blocks per game would have been No. 2 in the NBA, had he played enough games to qualify.
- The Jazz held opponents to 97.7 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.
- Opponents shot 14.7 percent worse on average within six feet of the hoop when Gobert was the closest defender.
Not too shabby for a guy who was drafted No. 27 overall.
The only other Jazzman to take home DPOY honors is Mark Eaton, who last won the award in 1989. Eaton also captured the trophy in ’85.
When he received his own award, Gobert was emotional as he thanked his family, his coach and the Jazz organization as a whole —
As much as Jazz fans are sure to love the respect he showed the team and the city it plays in during his acceptance speech, his response to a question about leaving Utah to form a super team wins the night —
Elsewhere on the awards lineup, Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and head coach Quin Snyder finished as runners-up for Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively. As expected, Ben Simmons was the ROY. Snyder, meanwhile, lost out to Dwane Casey.