SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The accolades keep pouring in for Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
One day after being named to the All-NBA second team, Gobert was named a finalist for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Most Improved Player Award.
Gobert was joined by San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Golden State’s Draymond Green for the Defensive Player of the Year, while Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver’s Nikola Jokic are the other contenders for Most Improved Player.
The NBA Awards will be announced on June 26th.
Mark Eaton is the only other Jazz player to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Eaton won it in 1985 and 1989.
Appearing in 81 games (all starts), Gobert averaged career highs of 14.0 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game while posting career-bests in field goal percentage (.662) and free throw percentage (.653) while helping the Jazz to their first 50-win season since 2009-10. Gobert on Thursday was named to the 2016-17 All-NBA Second Team.
He led the NBA in total blocks (214), blocks per game (2.6), block percentage (6.4), defensive win shares (6.0), defensive real plus/minus (6.03), true shooting percentage (.683) and points per shot (1.82). He finished third in offensive rating (129.0) and defensive rating (99.2), the only player in the NBA to finish in the top-five in both categories. His .662 mark from the field is the best for a single-season in franchise history and ranked second in the NBA this year.
The fourth-year center became the first player in franchise history and the first NBA player since 2009-10 to compile 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 blocks in a single season. In addition, he now ranks seventh on the Jazz all-time blocks list (579). Gobert recorded a league-best 42 consecutive games with at least one block and led the league with four games of at least six blocks, eight games with five blocks, 18 games with four blocks, 42 games with three blocks, 63 games with two blocks and 77 games with one block. He anchored a Jazz defense that led the league in opponent points per game (96.8), finished second in opponent field goal percentage (.443) and third in defensive rating (102.7).