The voters have spoken: Rudy Gobert is again in the top three for the NBA’s annual Defensive Player of the Year award.
Gobert’s place as a finalist for the award was announced on Friday evening, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George. Gobert is the reigning winner of the award, having earned a majority of the vote for an effective if injury-shortened campaign in 2017-18.
The Frenchman was equally effective defensively in 2018-19, leading the Jazz to the league’s second-best overall defense (behind Antetokounmpo’s Bucks) while playing in 81 contests, sitting out only the meaningless last game of the season against the Clippers. When he was on the court, the Jazz allowed just 102.9 points per 100 possessions.
While being snubbed as an All-Star this season, Gobert also finished second in the league in blocks, behind Indiana’s Myles Turner, and led the league in defensive Box Plus-Minus and defensive Real Plus-Minus, the latter stat for the second consecutive year.
Gobert was the only Jazzman named as a finalist for the NBA’s end of season awards, to be announced June 24 on TNT. Antetokounmpo and George joined James Harden as MVP candidates, while D’Angelo Russell, Pascal Siakam and De’Aaron Fox were named as finalists for the Most Improved Player award.
Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Deandre Ayton were the finalists for the Rookie of the Year award. Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams and Domantas Sabonis were named finalists in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. Doc Rivers, Mike Malone and Mike Budenholzer are the three standing for the NBA’s Coach of the Year trophy.