Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated’s, The Crossover, handed out his awards for the NBA’s first quarter or the season, and Utah’s Rudy Gobert earned the defensive player of the year.
Speaking of Gobert, Golliver wrote, “One tell-tale sign of an elite playmaker is that he can carry an offense regardless of who surrounds him. The same logic holds true for elite defenders like Gobert, who has led the Jazz to a top-five defense despite a long list of injuries to key players and multiple new arrivals in the rotation.”
After mentioning the Jazz’s injury issues, Golliver continued, “His fearlessness protecting the rim and his activity around the protected circle have been major drivers in keeping the Jazz (15-10) afloat. Last year, Utah was lost without Gobert, when he was sidelined with a knee injury. This year, they’ve been buoyed by him.”