US basketball

Jazz center Rudy Gobert top defender for third time

Jazz center Rudy Gobert top defender for third time

STALWART. Rudy Gobert helps the Jazz secure the league's best record this season.

Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The French center becomes the fourth player to earn the honor at least thrice

Fresh off a key defensive play in a victory to open a Western Conference semifinal series, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday, June 9 (Thursday, June 10, Manila time).

Gobert became the fourth player to earn the honor at least three times, joining Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace, who it won four times, and Dwight Howard, who is another three-time winner.

Gobert also won the award during the 2017-2018 season and in the 2018-2019 campaign. Out of the 100 sportswriters and broadcasters who voted, the 28-year-old Gobert received 84 first-place votes and 464 points.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons was second with 287 points and 15 first-place votes. The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who won the award in the 2016-2017 season, was third with 76 points. A first-place vote was worth 5 points, with 3 for a second-place vote, and 1 for third.

Gobert averaged 13.5 rebounds per game and led the NBA with 10.1 defensive rebounds per game. He also led the league with 190 blocked shots and was second in blocks per game at 2.7.

With the Jazz clinging to a 112-109 lead in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, Gobert blocked a last-second three-point attempt by Marcus Morris Sr. to seal the victory. Voting was based on regular-season performances only.

In a March 14 game against the Warriors, Gobert grabbed 28 rebounds to set a season high, and during a March 22 game against the Chicago Bulls, he blocked 9 shots to set a career-high in the category.

With Gobert taking up space in the middle of the lane with his size and length, the Jazz were third in the NBA this season in defensive rating at 107.5. and second in opponents’ field-goal percentage at 44.7.

The Jazz were the only team in the NBA’s regular season in the top five in both points scored (116.4) and points allowed (107.7). –