SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz blocks the shot by Evan Turner #1 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the game on January 21, 2019 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Jazz center Rudy Gobert named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for a third straight season

by Aaron Falk

Rudy Gobert has to wait another month to find out if he will be named the best defender in the NBA for a second straight year.

But the Utah Jazz center might as well collect a few other accolades as he waits.

Gobert on Wednesday was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team for a third consecutive season. Gobert, who averaged 15.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, was voted one of the five best defenders in the league, along with Oklahoma City’s Paul George, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe and Boston’s Marcus Smart. The Stifle Tower received 196 total points, including 97 first-place votes from the league’s global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters—the highest tallies for any player in the league.

Gobert is the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and one of three finalists for the honor this season (the trophy will be awarded June 24). He got there by once again anchoring one of the league’s best defenses.

As a team, the Jazz finished the season with the second-best defensive rating. The 26-year-old Gobert led Utah in rebounding average and the team had the best defensive rebound percentage (.759) of any team in the NBA last season. He also excelled in a number of other individual categories:

1st — 5.0 box plus-minus

2nd — 187 total blocks

2nd — 16 shots contested per game

4th — 100.4 defensive rating

Gobert joins Jazz legends Karl Malone (1997, 1998, 1999) and Mark Eaton (1985, 1986, 1989) as one of three players to thrice earn Defensive First-Team honors.

Jazz guards Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio and forwards Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors also received votes.

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