Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert locks down NBPA’s Locksmith honors

Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert has taken home another piece of year-end hardware for his defensive brilliance during the 2018-19 NBA season.

We may be more than two weeks removed from the NBA Awards Show, but Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert center is still adding to his trophy case. After winning the Association’s Defensive Player of the Year award and picking up All-NBA and All-Defensive Team honors from the league, the Stifle Tower was honored again on Tuesday.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) unveiled the winners of its Players Voice awards for the 2018-19 season and, surprise surprise, Gobert received The Locksmith award, which is the NBPA’s DPOY equivalent.


Gobert and the rest of the winners were celebrated as part of the Players’ Night Out event in Los Angeles, hosted by The Players’ Tribune.

Clearly, Utah’s man in the middle made an incredible impact for his team defensively last season. He was the linchpin for a Jazz front that allowed just 105.2 points per 100 possessions; No. 2 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

As an individual defender, he led the league in defensive real plus/minus (4.35) and defensive box plus/minus (5.1). Also — he was top five in defensive win shares, total blocks, blocks per game and individual defensive rating. Opponents shot 11 percent below their norms within six feet of the hoop when he was the closest defender.

While Gobert winning here seems like a no-brainer, it’s a big deal that he actually won. The Players Voice awards are the only year-end honors voted on and decided exclusively by NBA players. And there’s no better endorsement of Gobert as an elite player than from his peers on the hardwood.

Last year, Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell was honored as Leader of the New School (ROY).

Meanwhile, Jazz alum Gordon Hayward was named the NBPA Comeback Player for ’18-19. Say what you will about Hayward and the season he had, the fact that he returned from such a devastating injury to play in 72 games and show flashes of his former All-Star self was huge.

With more distance between himself and the injury, G-Time could make a full-fledged return next season.

The complete list of winners is as follows —

MVP – Giannis Antentokunmpo
Toughest To Guard – James Harden
Leader of the New School (Best Rookie) – Luka Doncic
X-Factor (Best Player off the Bench) – Lou Williams
Comeback Player presented by HSS – Gordon Hayward
Mr. Clutch – Kevin Durant
Sneaker Champ – P.J. Tucker
The Locksmith (Best Defender) – Rudy Gobert
Most Respected (Influential Veteran) – Dwyane Wade & Dirk Nowitzki
The People’s Champ – LeBron James
The Freshest (Best Style on and off the Court) presented by ISAIA – Russell Westbrook
The Best Side Hustle (Best Off-Court Endeavors, in Fashion, Tech, Media, Art, etc.) – LeBron James