Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with the media after practice at the Toyota Center on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 as they prepare for game 2 with the Rockets in Houston.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans who love to hate ESPN's outspoken Stephen A. Smith will have more love than hate for his choice for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

After giving props to DPOY candidates Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green, Smith said the race boils down to two choices as far as he's concerned.

"Basically, for me it comes down to a two-horse race," Smith said on a video he posted on Twitter. "It’s between the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert."

Antetokounmpo averaged 12 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for the NBA's 11th-best defense in Milwaukee, Smith noted.

"Obviously, Greek warrants strong, strong, strong consideration," he said.

Then again, he also believes Milwaukee's versatile superstar merits that type of consideration for MVP. But in both cases, Smith considers Antetokounmpo the runner-up — to Gobert for the defensive honors and to James Harden for the league's top personal award.

"The person that would get this award in my estimation would be Utah’s Rudy Gobert," Smith said in regards to the DPOY award. "Fifty-win season, averaged more rebounds, 12.9 per game, averaged more blocks, 2.3 a game, in the Western Conference with all those potent offenses, with all those guys who he goes against, not in the Eastern Conference."

Smith liked that Gobert led the NBA's fourth-ranked defense.

"When I look at it from that perspective," he added, "I have to give Rudy Gobert Defensive Player of the Year."

The strongly opinionated personality won't get any complaints from Utah — for that assessment, at least.

FAMILIAR FACE

Kicker Chayden Johnston's surprise announcement that he's retiring from football gave former All-American Andy Phillips an idea.

"Bring in (placekicker) Randy Billups," Phillips tweeted along with a photo of a moustached man who bears a striking resemblance to him.

That was obviously a joke — sorry, Randy Billups doesn't have any collegiate eligibility remaining — but Phillips also gave some thoughts about the Utes' kicking situation.

"Here’s my opinion on the Utah PK situation. Obviously the passion wasn’t there anymore for #12 and I wish him the best," he wrote. "MUST find someone tough, cold-blooded, raw, passionate and wants the pressure if we want to win the Pac-12. Hard to come by, but we can’t afford any drop-off."

BANNER DAY

Anybody who comes within the vicinity of the Spence Eccles Ski Team Building won't need to ask who won the 2019 NCAA ski championship.

BOO(M)!

Former BYU linebacker Bryan Kehl might also hang up a banner after defeating ex-Ute standout Boo Andersen in a boxing match last weekend. In the meantime, Kehl will let people who visit his Twitter page reminisce about his glorious moment in the boxing ring with a photo from the night.

Boys who hope to take his daughters on dates might want to pay attention.

Phillips and/or Billups downed former Cougar quarterback Riley Nelson, if you missed that news.

WEEKEND PLANNER

Friday, April 19

  • Minors: Bees at Sacramento
  • Gymnastics: NCAA semifinals, at Fort Worth, Texas, 11 a.m., 5 p.m.
  • Baseball: Utah vs. Arizona State
  • Baseball: BYU at Washington
  • Baseball: UVU vs. New Mexico State, 6 p.m.
  • Baseball: Dixie State vs. Regis, 4 p.m., 7 p.m.
  • Baseball: SLCC vs. USU-Eastern, 1 p.m. (DH)
  • Softball: Utah vs. Washington, 6 p.m.
  • Softball: Utah State vs. Fresno State, 4 p.m.
  • Softball: UVU at Cal Baptist, 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.
  • Softball: Weber State vs. Montana
  • Softball: SUU at Portland State, 1 p.m. (DH)
  • Softball: Dixie State vs. New Mexico Highlands, noon, 2 p.m.
  • Softball: SLCC at USU-Eastern, 1 p.m. (DH)
  • Softball: Snow vs. Southern Idaho, 1 p.m. (DH)
  • Men’s golf: BYU hosts Cougar Classic (vs. USU, SUU)
  • Women’s golf: WCC championships, at Spokane
  • Women’s golf: WAC championship, at Lakewood, Wash.
  • Women’s golf: Big Sky championship, at Boulder City, Nev.
  • Men’s tennis: SUU at Montana State, 1 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis: BYU at Pacific
  • Women’s tennis: SUU vs. EWU, 1 p.m.
  • Track: BYU, USU, UVU at Beach Invitational/Mt. SAC Relays
  • Track: Utah, BYU, USU, UVU, WSU at Bryan Clay Invitational

Saturday, April 20

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  • Minors: Bees at Sacramento
  • Gymnastics: NCAA Four on the Floor, 5 p.m.
  • Baseball: Utah vs. Arizona State
  • Baseball: BYU at Washington
  • Baseball: UVU vs. New Mexico State, noon
  • Baseball: Dixie State vs. Regis, noon
  • Baseball: SLCC vs. USU-Eastern, noon (DH)
  • Softball: Utah vs. Washington, noon
  • Softball: Utah State vs. Fresno State, noon
  • Softball: UVU at Cal Baptist, 1 p.m.
  • Softball: Weber State vs. Montana
  • Softball: SUU at Portland State, 1 p.m.
  • Softball: Dixie State vs. New Mexico Highlands, 11 a.m., 1 p.m.
  • Softball: SLCC at USU-Eastern, noon (DH)
  • Softball: Snow vs. Southern Idaho, noon (DH)
  • Lacrosse: Utah vs. Cleveland State, 1 p.m.
  • Men’s golf: BYU hosts Cougar Classic (vs. USU, SUU)
  • Women’s golf: WCC championships, at Spokane
  • Women’s golf: WAC championship, at Lakewood, Wash.
  • Women’s golf: Big Sky championship, at Boulder City, Nev.
  • Men’s tennis: Utah State at Boise State, 1 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis: Utah vs. Colorado
  • Women’s tennis: BYU at Saint Mary’s
  • Women’s tennis: Utah State vs. Boise State, 11 a.m.
  • Women’s tennis: Dixie State at Colorado Mesa, 10 a.m.
  • Track: Utah, BYU, USU, UVU at Beach Invitational/Mt. SAC Relays
  • Track: BYU, USU, UVU, WSU at Bryan Clay Invitational

Sunday, April 21

  • Minors: Bees at Sacramento
  • Women’s golf: WAC championship, at Lakewood, Wash.
  • Women’s golf: Big Sky championship, at Boulder City, Nev.
  • Men’s tennis: Weber State vs. Portland State
  • Men’s tennis: SUU at Montana, 1 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis: SUU vs. Idaho, 1 p.m.