SANTA MONICA, Calif. -Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year at the NBA Awards Monday. After finishing second last year, Gobert beat out Anthony Davis from New Orleans and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia.
After missing 15 games from Dec. 16 to Jan. 17 with injury, Gobert returned to the lineup on Jan. 19, playing in every game to finish the season.
After Gobert’s late January return, the Jazz posted the second-best record in the NBA (30-8), the best defensive rating in the NBA (97.5), the best net rating (10.8), the lowest opponent scoring average (97.4) and were tied for the lowest opponent field goal percentage during that stretch (.431).
The 7-1 center averaged the most contested shots per game (15.0) on the year and had the second-most blocked shots in the NBA after the All-Star break (55).
Led by Gobert, the Jazz had a top-five defense for the second-straight season with a defensive rating of 101.6, the second-best rating in the NBA and had the fifth-best net rating in the NBA (4.6) in 2017-18.
Gobert is the second Jazz player to ever win this award, joining Mark Eaton who won it twice in 1985 and 1989.
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was beaten out for Rookie of the Year by Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and fired Toronto Coach Dwayne Casey beat out Jazz head coach Quin Snyder for Coach of the Year.