Ben Simmons’ quest to become the NBA’s defensive player of the year was emphatically blocked by Rudy Gobert.
Gobert, the Utah Jazz center, was the runaway winner of the award that was announced Wednesday night.
He received 84 first-place votes and 464 total points from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Simmons finished second with 15 first-place votes and 287 points. Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green was third with 76 points. He didn’t receive a first-place vote.
Sixers center Joel Embiid with seventh in seven total points, while Matisse Thybulle received a point.
For Gobert, this marks the third time he’s won this award. The 7-foot-1 Frenchman also won it in 2018 and 2019. As a result, he joins Hall of Famers Dikembe Mutombo (four) and Ben Wallace (four), and Sixers reserve Dwight Howard (three) as the only players to win it at least three times.
Gobert led the NBA in total blocked shots (190), defensive rebounds per game (10.1), and total defensive rebounds (720), and was second in blocks per game (2.7).
Simmons was ninth in the league in steals (1.6) while guarding all five positions this season. He also averaged 5.6 defensive rebounds.