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Jazz center Rudy Gobert awarded ‘The Locksmith’ award by NBPA

Rudy Gobert

The NBA has seen a decrease in centers as the league’s 30 teams have mostly prioritized shooting and increasing the pace of play. One big man, however, has been able to be not only incredibly effective, but an absolute game-changer for his team.

Rudy Gobert has been a defensive juggernaut around the rim for his Utah Jazz over the last few seasons, and his play was taken to another level this season when the Jazz reached the second round of the NBA playoffs. Sure, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis were both critical to their team’s success on the defensive end, but Gobert was simply in a league of his own. The National Basketball Players Association has awarded Gobert ‘The Locksmith’ award for his rim-protection and skills on the defensive end of the court.

Gobert, a five-year NBA veteran, averaged 13.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.3 blocked shots per game. In the 1,816 minutes with Gobert on the floor, the Jazz had a defensive rating of 97.7. When he was off the floor, Utah’s defensive rating dropped to 105.

Gobert was also named a top three finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year alongside New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.