Going for an encore: Rudy Gobert is a finalist for DPOY award

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SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert isn’t afraid to share his feelings.

He’s expressed his concern with the referees. He broke down in tears after talking about his mother following his All-Star snub. And Gobert isn’t shy about how he thinks he should already be a multiple Defensive Player of the Year award winner.

“I should have two by the way,” Gobert said in February.

That second one may very well be on its way. And soon.

On Friday, the NBA announced that Gobert was one of three finalists for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Oklahoma City’s Paul George and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo are the two other finalists.

Gobert won the award last season and the Jazz launched a creative campaign for Gobert this season by recreating John Coltrane's classic album “Coltrane." Gobert’s faux album was appropriately titled “Encore 2019”

And an encore may very well come next month during the NBA Awards show.

Gobert anchored a defense that finished second in the league with a defensive rating of 105.2. He posted the best defensive box plus-minus (5.0) in the NBA, ranked second in defensive win shares (5.7) and ranked fourth overall in defensive rating (100.4) among all qualified players last season.

He averaged 2.3 blocks per game on the year and contested 16 shots per contest with 13.8 of those being two-point attempts. The 16 shot contests were second in the league.

“It’s not the blocks that you are worried about, it’s the alters,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said in March. “He probably alters about a dozen shots a game.”

And that’s why it’s hard to sometimes fully appreciate Gobert’s defensive dominance. Just his presence alone makes teams take different shots. He makes players shoot higher and further out — it doesn’t always result in blocks, but it often results in misses.

Gobert also finished the year averaging career-highs in points per game (15.9), rebounding average (12.9) and assists per contest (2.0).

“Rudy needs to stop feeling underappreciated,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said in jest in March after Gobert won the Western Conference player of the week. “I’m tired of him feeling underappreciated. He got appreciated this week, right? He's appreciated.”

And that appreciation just keeps coming.

The NBA Awards show is June 24 and Gobert isn’t the only Jazz player up for an award.

Donovan Mitchell is one of 10 finalists for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award. Kyle Korver is a finalist for the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammates of the Year award.

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