With Rudy Gobert’s excellent defensive skills, Utah Jazz was able to run up an NBA mark; 52-20 in 2020. Rudy Gobert should be declared the king of the hill - the best DPOY, Defensive Player Ladder - as this ranks as a significant achievement. The DPOY is a weekly ranking of the NBA’s most versatile and effective defenders. Gobert was at the top of the rank that makes him a top dog on the top rung.
The edition of the DPOY weekly ranking Gobert won, was the final one for the 2020-21 national championship season. This season-ending edition came with the NBA’s Kia Defensive Player of the Year Award. Like every player who once played in the NCAA national championship and looking to make the step up, Rudy is living his dream. You can always place your bet on some top games in a competition with fantastic odds.
This award is based on fan votes. Nominees are listed and fans allowed to vote for their best defensive player for that week. The three defensive players with the highest votes mirror the three-spot ballot that is announced alongside the final league result.
For the final week, Rudy Gobert had the highest number of votes, followed by Ben Simmons for 76ers’ and Bam Adebayo for the Heat. A total of 99 voters determined the order of this ranking.
It was crystal clear that Rudy Gobert’s position on the ranking was well deserving as his play during the week greatly impacted Jazz’s defensive strategy. It took Jazz way beyond any of their rivals by making the defensive strategy meet Utah’s 52-20 record; this record marked one of the NBA’s best seasons.
Gobert’s outstanding performance also allowed Jazz to rank third in points permitted per 100 possessions (107.5). In points scored per 100, Jazz ranked fourth (116.5) and tops in gaps in-between (9.0).
Rudy Gobert’s statistics were outstanding. The team got an average of 11.9 points when he was on the floor. When Gobert contested a team’s shots, they tended to fare 7.7% or worse. On the NBA’s list of defensive floor-goal attempts, he topped with 19.1.
Gobert also has a defensive rating of 100.9, a rating only a few NBA players in the world have. His plus/minus for the 2020-21 season was plus-728. He also had a defensive win share of 0.181.
Let’s compare Gobert’s stats to that of Simmons, who is the first runner-up on the rank. The Philadelphia player also has outstanding stats to guard all five positions with little or no error. Check out his stats: a best defensive rating of minus 0.4, a shooter rate of 5.2%, a defensive rating a bit higher than Gobert’s of 106.0, and a 328-plus rating and defensive win shares of 0.14.
From the stats of these two top players, you will notice that they have specialties in different areas; however, the average stats of each player will determine the top rung as there can only be one.
Calculating the average stats of all defensive players in the NBA for the final 2020-21 season, here is a list of the top three players of the DPOY:
- Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Coming top on the rankings is Rudy Gobert. Gobert’s defensive impact for this season was not exaggerated in any way. He had an outstanding season that even FiveThirtyEight showered some praise on him:
“Gobert’s data for the season suggests that he’s not only aiming to win this season’s DPOY award, but also looking to set new records in NBA history. His stats for this season are some of the best over the past 14 years.”
In response to the media hype, Rudy said: “The day I retire, the NBA will sometimes check my data, and maybe people will start respecting me.”
- Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Simmons and his supporters believe he should win DPOY, but the NBA thinks otherwise because his defense style was more personal than tactical. Simmons was outstanding throughout the season, judging from the stats. Simmons’ style turned defense into offence, which had a lesser value when compared to Gobert’s style.
- Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Although Bam Adebayo’s defensive performance greatly impacted Miami Heat’s final result, he didn’t have enough to win the DPOY. He just has to put in more effort. Miami Heat and the NBA expect more from a basketball player looking to earn these types of honours.
Two players that also had impressive stats but could not make it into the top three spots are: Clint Capela for Atlanta Hawks and Giannis Antetokounmpo for Milwaukee Bucks. These players will most likely make it to the top three spots in the next DPOY award with a little more effort.