It was announced on Wednesday that the 2020-21 NBA Defensive Player of the Year would be none other than Rudy Gobert. The Utah Jazz center’s prosperity revolving this award makes it feel like he wins it every year. And, just like the present, the DPOY conversation rotates back to him again!
While Ben Simmons, amongst others, had strong cases for the award, stats don’t lie. Rudy Gobert joins Dikembe Mutombo (four), Ben Wallace (four), and Dwight Howard (three) as the only players to win the Defensive Player of the Year award at least three times. Here’s why:
Gobert ranked second in the league in blocks per game at 2.7 whilst leading the league in total blocks at 190. It would also be a travesty to not mention the defensive rebounding proficiency of roughly 10.1 rebounds a game, on average. If all of the statistics listed before still wasn’t enough to convince someone, perhaps another detail would change their mind — the Utah Jazz finishing the regular season with the best record in the league alongside the third highest defensive rating.
The Jazz are currently up 1-0 on the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals. While the NBA’s awards are for the regular season, Gobert shows up even stronger in the playoffs. Through the five games in the frist round and the one game so far against the Clippers, Gobert has been outstanding.
Gobert has started all six games, playing 32.7 minutes per game. He is overperforming compared to the regular-season in points per game at 16.2. Gobert additionally is grabbing 12.8 boards each night and a magnificent 3.0 blocks per game.
Gobert displayed elite defensive skill during this year’s regular season and his playoff performance thus far has been too much for the opposition to handle. He is simply too dominant for any opposing big man.
The Clippers and Jazz meet again tonight (Thursday) at 10:00 PM (EST).