Rudy Gobert (29) will have to wait before winning a fourth title for best defender. The Jazz pivot was one of the nominees but it was Boston point guard Marcus Smart who was named on Monday. The Frenchman, also overtaken by Mikal Bridges, finished third.
No quadruple for Rudy Gobert. Crowned in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (Giannis Antetokounmpo had received the trophy in 2020 during the season which was disputed in the Orlando bubble), the 29-year-old French pivot will have to wait before perhaps one day receiving a fourth title of best defender of the year and thus joining the very closed circle of four-time rewarded players Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace.
Marcus Smart has indeed prevented the native of Saint-Quentin from entering his name in the rankings for the fourth time. Gobert, the big favourite, especially since he had finished best rebounder (14.7 catches per game) and was again on the podium in terms of blocks (third blocker, with 2.1 blocks per game), was nevertheless doing ( and logically) part of the three finalists selected. During a decidedly dark evening for the former player of Cholet, beaten by Dallas with Utah on the floor of the Mavericks in game 2 of the series between the two teams, the hundred journalists from around the world called to vote finally decided that Smart deserved the title of “DPOY” (Defensive Player Of The Year) more this year than Gobert, who had recently told us that he hoped to keep his title (“it would be a source of pride”).
Gobert also overtaken by Bridges
—Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 18, 2022
With 257 points, the Boston point guard edged Phoenix Suns winger Mikal Bridges, second with 202 points, and Jazz Frenchy, only third with 136 points. Smart, whose team is also playing in these NBA play-offs which started this weekend, is the first point guard since Gary Payton in 1996 (Payton then wore the colors of the Seattle SuperSonics) to be named best defender of the season. Boston, for its part, had been waiting since 2008 and the success of Celtics pivot Kevin Garnett to win the trophy again. “I’m really blown away. It’s an incredible honor! I’m just happy to receive this trophy with my brothers in the team.”savored Smart, known in particular for his incessant pressing qualities on his opponents and his ability to intercept balls.