Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert has been announced as the NBA Defensive Player Of The Year for the 2020-21 season. This is the Frenchman’s third award win in four years and became only the fourth player to win it at least three times.
Gobert received a vast majority of the votes and finished comfortably in the first place over Ben Simmons and Draymond Green. After winning the award in succession back in 2018 and 2019, Gobert lost out to Giannis Antetokounmpo last season.
Gobert racked up 464 points in the voting, well ahead of 76ers’ Ben Simmons, who finished with 287. Warriors’ Draymond Green tallied 76 points for himself and the rest of the candidates include Bam Adebayo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Clint Capela and Jrue Holiday.
He joins the list of having won the award at least thrice along with Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, and Dwight Howard. Mutombo and Wallace received the award four times while Gobert remains level with Howard.
Utah Jazz finished as the number one seed in the Western Conference and third-ranked defense overall in the league, with Gobert playing a crucial role in that outcome.
Gobert in disbelief after winning the award for the third time
“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. Gobert said
“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.” he added
Gobert showed why he was worthy of the award just a few days ago when he blocked a potential game-tying shot in Game 1 against the Clippers. The block, in the dying seconds of the game, ensured that Jazz walked away with a 112-109 win, and a lead in the series as well.
They are currently leading the Clippers 1-0 in the conference semifinals after overcoming the Memphis Grizzlies 4-1 in the first round.