SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert is the NBA 2017-2018 Defensive Player of the Year.
Gobert was the favorite to take home the award after finishing second in voting last year. All three candidates were centers as he went up against Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ers and Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Gobert is the first Jazzman to win the award since two-time winner Mark Eaton.
“I’m very excited for the future and proud to be representing the Jazz,” Gobert said after receiving the award. He was quick to give thanks to his coach as well.
“I want to thank Quin for believing in me since he got here,” Gobert said.
The big man averaged 2.3 blocks per game and the Jazz only allowed 97.7 points per 100 possesions when he was on the floor. The Jazz also won 66.1 percent of its games when Gobert played versus 42.3 percent when he did not.
Rookie Donovan Mitchell lost the Rookie of the Year award to Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons.
There was much debate surrounding the Rookie of the Year race with many Jazz fans saying Ben Simmons should not be eligible since he is a red shirt rookie. Donovan Mitchell and Adidas teamed together surrounding the discussion with t-shirts saying things like “Rookie?” or defining what a rookie is. Mitchell showed up to the awards show in an Adidas van with the slogan.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) June 25, 2018
Mitchell finished the year scoring 20.5 points per contest, pulling down 3.7 rebounds, and dishing 3.7 assists.
The Jazz’s Quin Snyder was also up for Coach of the Year against Raptors’ former coach Dwayne Casey and Celtics’ Brad Stevens. Casey took home the regular season award. The Raptors decided to let Casey go in May after Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Raptors out of the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
Snyder led the Jazz to a 48-34 record. This despite being 19-26 at one point in January.
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