APTOPIX Jazz Rockets Basketball 042419

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) is fouled by Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker (17) in a battle for the ball during Game 5 of an NBA first-round playoff series April 24 in Houston.

Standard-Examiner Staff

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team on Wednesday, his third straight First Team honor.

Gobert was the top points earner in the vote conducted by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. He earned 97 first-team votes and two second-team votes for 196 total points, edging Oklahoma City’s Paul George (195) for the most points.

Gobert and George were joined by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (193 points), Boston’s Marcus Smart (145) and Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe (100 points) on the All-Defensive First Team.

Gobert, a 7-foot-1 center, finished his sixth NBA season with career highs at 15.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, leading the Jazz to the second-best defensive rating in the NBA. Gobert’s rebounding efforts also led Utah to a league-best rebounding percentage of 75.9.

He is now third Jazz player to earn three All-Defensive First Team selections, joining Karl Malone (1997-99) and Mark Eaton (1985-86 and 1989). He ranks third in all-time career rebounds (4,275), fourth in defensive rebounds (2,963) and fifth in blocks (895) with the Jazz franchise.

The France native is the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the year and was also announced as a top-three finalist for this year’s award. George and Antetokounmpo are the other finalists. The winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards at 7 p.m. MDT Monday, June 24, on TNT.

In advanced statistics, Gobert 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, according to a news release from the Jazz. He contested the second most shots per contest (16.0) and blocked the second-most shots (187).

Gobert’s 530 blocks leads the NBA over the last three seasons.

He also became the second player in league history to total more than 1,200 points and 1,000 rebounds while also shooting 65% from the field. He led the league in field goal percentage at 66.9% and totaled an NBA record 306 dunks.

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