Jazz big man Rudy Gobert wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year for third time in career

By winning the award for the third time, Gobert has now tied Dwight Howard for the third most Defensive Player of the Year wins ever, trailing Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo, who each have four.

That is because Gobert’s rim- protection is so overwhelmingly powerful that Utah can afford to use the rest of its defenders to protect against 3-point shots.

Opponents shot 7.7 percent worse against him than they did against an average defender, and he finished third in defensive rating at 100.9, trailing only teammates Mike Conley and Georges Niang, who benefitted from his presence.

Drop-coverage big men tend to struggle against teams with enough shooting to pull them away from the basket, and now that Gobert has proven everything he can possibly prove in the regular season, his merits as an all-time defender will be judged by what happens in the playoffs.

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