Rudy Gobert named NBA's Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row

by Aaron Falk

Rudy Gobert has successfully defended his title.

But what else would you expect?

The Utah Jazz center is keeping the title of the NBA’s best defensive player, winning the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award for a second consecutive season.

Gobert collected the trophy Monday night at the NBA Awards Show in Los Angeles, beating out Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Oklahoma City’s Paul George for the honor.

“It’s all my teammates,” Gobert said as he accepted the award. “I say this all the time, but it’s a team game. When you have guys that bring it every night, come every day with the same focus and compete like we do, it’s inspirational. From the coaching staff, Quin, who is just a little competitive, AJ [assistant coach Alex Jensen], the Miller family—it’s just unbelievable for me.”

Gobert also gave a special thanks to his mother, Corinne Gobert, who was in attendance.

Antetokounmpo and George each had stellar seasons for their teams, the latter leading the league in steals and the former playing a key role in the league’s top-rated defense.

But, as the league’s voters recognized, Gobert’s case for winning the award was unparalleled. Gobert once again anchored the Jazz defense, earning a spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Gobert led the league in Defensive Real Plus-Minus (4.35) and Defensive Box Plus-Minus (5.1). He ranked second in the league in Defensive Win Shares (5.7) and second in total blocks (187), while deterring opponents from the rim at a league-leading pace.

Gobert becomes just the second player in Jazz history to win multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards (Mark Eaton 1985, ’89) and the 10th in league history to claim the honor more than once.

“It means a lot. I never thought I would be able to do that when I started basketball, a kid in France,” Gobert said. “I was just having fun. Then I started getting more competitive, year after year and eventually I made it to the NBA and I’m standing here today. I’m just grateful.”

2019 NBA Award Winners

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic

Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams

Teammate of the Year: Mike Conley

NBA Sportsmanship Award: Mike Conley

NBA Community Assist Award: Bradley Beal

Rudy's DPOY Encore

Gobert's quest to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards started last summer. Watch as Gobert returns home to Saint-Quentin, France, in July 2018, touring his hometown, training and sharing insights into the places and people that motivate him to be one of the league's best players.

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