Rudy Gobert Tops Ben Simmons for Defensive Player of the Year
When the NBA decided to announce the results of NBA MVP voting on Tuesday evening, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was disappointed to find out that despite being one of three finalists for the award, he was going to come second in voting to Denver Nuggets big man, Nikola Jokic.
The following night, the league announced the Defensive Player of the Year winner, an award that Sixers guard Ben Simmons placed as a top-three finalist in. And just like Embiid, Simmons finds himself second to somebody else.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in his career. With 84 first-place votes, 14 second-place votes, and two third-place votes, Gobert earned a total of 464 points to place him first on the ballot. While Simmons beat out Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green for second place -- the Sixers guard was well behind Gobert in the race.
Simmons managed to earn 15 first-place votes, with Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo being the only other player to receive one. While Simmons led every other player with 67 second-place votes, his additional 11 third-place votes were only good enough to earn him 287 points behind Gobert.
Coming in second place for the award likely won't mean much for Simmons. When the veteran guard found out he was a finalist, Simmons brushed it off and made it clear he refuses to get excited about the DPOY race unless he wins it.
It turned out to be a good move on his part. Even though Simmons made it clear that his versatility and dominance on the defensive side of the ball should help him win DPOY this season, the voters clearly found Rudy Gobert's style of play to be more effective for the Utah Jazz.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_ & Instagram: @JGrassoNBA.