Rudy Gobert Wins 2018 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 06 Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz blocks the shot of Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets in the first half during Game Four of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, beating out Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.

It was Gobert's first time winning the award.

Gobert, 25, was Utah's defensive anchor in the 2017-18 season, averaging 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. His defensive rating was 97.7, according to NBA.com, third among players with at least 50 games played. Utah finished the season with a defensive rating of 101.6, second in the NBA.

Utah was far better with Gobert on the court. When he didn't play, the team's defensive rating rose to 105.0. The Stifle Tower lived up to his name.

Embiid, 24, was nearly as impactful on the defensive end for the Sixers. He posted 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, with a defensive rating at 99.7. Philadelphia's defensive rating of 102.0, meanwhile, was third in the NBA.

And with Embiid off the court, the team's defensive rating spiked to 104.0. Add in his 22.9 points per game, and Embiid is fast becoming one of the NBA's most dominant two-way players.

While Davis, 25, didn't win Defensive Player of the Year, he too can lay claim to being a two-way superstar after posting 11.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. His advanced metrics weren't quite as impressive, however, as he posted a defensive rating of 103.4, and the Pelicans were 13th in defensive rating at 105.6.

But with Davis off the court, New Orleans' rating ballooned to a whopping 110.2. New Orleans didn't have an elite defense in the 2017-18 season, but when Davis was on the bench the team was downright poor in that regard.

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