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Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz
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Rudy Gobert Wins Third NBA Defensive Player Of The Year Award

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert blocks Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb.1, 2019. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Rudy Gobert has been named the Defensive Player of the Year for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The Utah Jazz center earned the award for the third time in the last four seasons, making him one of the most decorated defenders in the history of the league.

Gobert won the award in back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019 before Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo earned the nod last season.

In a video shown on TNT’s Inside the NBA, teammate Derrick Favors said the team was going to surprise Gobert with the award for the third time. Gobert entered the team’s locker room with the award waiting in his chair.

The All-Star center led the Jazz to the third-best defense in the NBA and the best overall record this season. Gobert led the NBA in raw plus-minus at +728, ranked second in blocks per game at 2.7, and second in rebounds per game at 13.5.

“I think it takes a team effort,” Gobert said of winning the award for the third time. “It takes obviously toughness, mental toughness. It’s just hard work and dedication every single day. You’ve got to come in with a mindset to try to make your team as good as it can be.”

Now in his eighth season, Gobert beat out Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green who were also finalists for the award.

With the win, Gobert joins elite company in NBA history. Since the award’s inception in 1983, only three other players have won the award at least three times.

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard won the award in three consecutive seasons, while Hall of Famers Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace both won the award four times.

Along with two-time winner Mark Eaton, the Jazz have now won the Defensive Player of the Year award five times, moving into second place all-time behind the Detroit Pistons who have six.

Gobert is a four-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team and is a shoo-in to earn the honor for the fifth consecutive season. The Jazz center earned 84 first-place votes, 14 second-place votes, and two third-place votes en route to 464 total votes.

Gobert beat out Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (287 points) and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (76) who finished third.

It’s been a busy awards season for the Jazz after finishing the year with the NBA’s best record. In addition to Gobert winning the Defensive Player of the Year, teammate Jordan Clarkson was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

Quin Snyder was also a finalist for the Coach of the Year award, though the honor went to Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams. Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell is a finalist for the NBA Community Assist Award.

You can see a complete list of past Jazz award winners here.

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