Rudy Gobert edged out by Marcus Smart and Mykal Bridges for NBA Defender of the Year trophy
Best rebounder (14.7 catches) and third blocker in the NBA (2.1) at the end of the regular season, Rudy Gobert could legitimately hope to be elected defender of the year for the fourth time after 2018, 2019 and 2021. But the French jazz giant lost its trophy on Monday, finishing only third in the vote by a panel of 100 media representatives. It was Marcus Smart, the back of the Boston Celtics, who won quite widely, ahead of Mykal Bridges (Phoenix).
“An incredible honor” for Smart
Smart is the first fullback to win the trophy since Gary Payton in 1995-96. « I’m really blown away, honestly, said the winner on social networks. An incredible honor! I’m just happy to receive this trophy with my brothers in the team. » He owes them a lot: Boston, who finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference, proved to be the strongest formation of the season (104.5 pts conceded), while Utah, Gobert’s team, only finished 5th in the West with 107.6 points conceded (10th average).
Smart, 7th best interceptor in the League (1.7 ball stolen), also shone in more specific statistical categories such as deflected passes or recoveries on balls that trail.