- Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four years.
- Gobert becomes the fourth player to win three NBA DOPY Awards joining Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace and Dwight Howard.
- Gobert’s Jazz are the current NBA Championship futures betting favorite.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is a defensive monster. There’s no other way to put it after Gobert being named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in a landslide. Gobert took 84 of 100 first place votes and 464 total points. Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers finished with 15 first place votes and 287 total points. Miami’s Bam Adebayo received a single first place vote.
The DOPY Award is Gobert’s third in only four seasons. He becomes the fourth player in NBA history to win three times joining some rarefied company–Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace and Dwight Howard. Mutombo and Wallace would win four DOPYs. At age 28, there’s a very good chance that Gobert could end up winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award more times than any player in NBA history before he’s done with his playing career.
A native of Saint-Quentin, France, Gobert is one of the true gentleman in the league. His comments upon learning of the award displayed his usual consummate class:
“It’s unbelievable. When I started basketball as I kid, if somebody would have told me that I was going to be Defensive Player of the Year, I would have never believed them, let alone three times.”
“It’s hard to put into words the things that you can achieve when you just enjoy what you do, first of all, and when you have a group of people that believes in you and you put the work in every single day. I try to write my own story, try to enjoy my own journey, but just being one of only four guys that have won the award that many times, it’s just amazing.”
Speaking to the crew of TNT’s Inside the NBA, Gobert explained what it takes for a team to develop a strong defensive identity:
“It takes team effort, mental toughness, hard work and dedication. Every day you have to come in with a mindset to try and make your team as good as it can be on that end.”
Gobert also credited his mom with his success as a basketball player:
“My mom. She sacrificed a lot for me to be be able to do what I love. She believed in me as a kid. She allowed me to do what I love to do and do what I wanted to do. When I grew up in a small town in France, I wasn’t supposed to be here. When I started basketball, if you would have asked me if I was gonna win a Defensive Player of the Year, I would probably not have believed it. Three of them is just amazing, and it’s on her. She gave me everything.”
Gobert and his Utah Jazz teammates are trying to add a new line to their resumes–NBA Champion. Right now, the Jazz lead the Los Angeles Clippers in their Best of 7 conference semifinal series 1-0 with Game 2 set for Thursday night in Salt Lake City.