SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert has the chance to repeat as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The Utah Jazz center was named a finalist for the annual award Friday, one year after taking home the Defensive Player of the Year trophy. The other finalists include Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Oklahoma City’s Paul George.
The 7-foot Gobert ranked second in the league in total blocks (187) this season and second in defensive win shares (5.7). Behind Gobert, the Jazz were the second-best defense in the NBA during the regular season, behind the Bucks.
“He’s a guy that reminds me of a Mark Eaton, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning,” Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said after Gobert was announced as a finalist, according to a Jazz news release. “If you’re a great player, I don’t worry about one guy stopping me. But if you’re playing against a great shot blocker, you have to know where he is. Because even if you beat your man, you know have to beat two guys.”
Eaton is the lone Jazzman to win Defensive Player of the Year twice, taking the honor in 1985 and 1989.
The NBA’s end-of-seasons awards will be announced June 24 at 7 p.m. MDT on TNT.
The finalists for other NBA awards are as follows:Comment on this story
MVP: Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo, Oklahoma City’s George, Houston’s James Harden
Coach of the Year: Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer, Denver’s Michael Malone, Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers
Rookie of the Year: Phoenix’s DeAndre Ayton, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Atlanta’s Trae Young
Most Improved Player: Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam
Sixth Man: Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams