Joel Embiid finished second for Defensive Player of the Year
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert won NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday night and it wasn't even close. The shot-blocking specialist beat out Sixers center Joel Embiid and Pelicans center Anthony Davis to win the award, his first.
Gobert played in 56 games for the Jazz this season but finished second in defensive rating (99.5), 12th in defensive win shares (3.9), second in block percentage (6.0), 11th in rebound percentage (18.8), and second in defensive box plus/minus (4.6) en route to winning the award.
Joel Embiid ended up finishing in second place for the award, fighting valiantly, but not nearly enough to beat out Gobert, who was voted on by the media. In fact, the race for Embiid was to fend off Anthony Davis, who finished in third place.
Embiid had a fantastic season on defense for the Sixers as they won 52 games and went to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. He was third in the NBA in defensive rating (100.5), 13th in defensive win shares (3.8), seventh in block percentage (4.8), eighth in rebound percentage (19.4), fourth in blocks per game (1.8), and 15th in defensive box plus/minus (2.5).
Additionally, Embiid also received four fifth place votes for MVP, which is something that no one really saw coming.
Robert Covington, a member of the All-Defense First Team, also received votes for Defensive Player of the Year with one second-place vote and five third-place votes for a total of eight points.
It wasn't all lost though for the Sixers, who still had Ben Simmons come home as Rookie of the Year, beating out Donovan Mitchell in a nearly unanimous fashion.
Josh Liddick is a contributor to 97.3 ESPN and Sixers managing editor at SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoshLiddickTalk.