Philadelphia 76ers fans are fuming after Australian NBA star Ben Simmons was looked over for a major end of season award.
The NBA announced Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert had won the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year award on Thursday, beating out Simmons and Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo.
The hulking Jazz big man garnered 464 total points, including 84 first-pace votes from the 100-strong panel of NBA media members.
Gobert was heavily favoured over Simmons for the award, with the Aussie star earning 15 first place votes and 287 total points.
Both the Jazz and the 76ers finished the regular season with the best record in their respective conferences, with Simmons and Gobert's respective defensive prowess crucial to their impressive records.
Earlier in the season, Simmons had talked up his case for winning the award.
“I’m one of those guys who can guard one to five,” he told ESPN.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of respect for Rudy. I know what he’s capable of. I know he’s great down there in the paint, but he’s not guarding everybody and that’s just what it is.
“He guarded me in Utah … I had 42 and apparently I’m not a scorer. It is what it is, but I have a lot of respect for him. At the same time, I think it’s mine this year.”
Unfortunately for him, voters didn't see it the same way - Gobert's intimidating presence around the rim enough to convince voters he deserved the award for a third time.
Dismayed fans took to Twitter to defend Simmons after the results were revealed.
Ben Simmons not winning DPOY is a travesty.
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) June 10, 2021
Ben Simmons finished second in the voting for the DPOY
Surprised Ben did not win? pic.twitter.com/8JBcZQggJ0
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 10, 2021
Rudy Gobert is defensive player of the year. Well deserved but I went with Ben Simmons.
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) June 10, 2021
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) June 10, 2021
Rudy Gobert claims NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award once again
Gobert led the league in blocked shots and his rim protection helped the Jazz to the best record in the NBA and the Frenchman becomes just the fourth player to win the award at least three times.
Fittingly, the award was announced a night after a game-sealing blocked shot by Gobert in Game 1 of Utah's Western Conference semi-final series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 216cm Gobert was the DPOY in 2018 and 2019.
Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace each won it four times and Dwight Howard three.
With Gobert in the middle, the Jazz went 52-20 and earned the overall No.1 seed for the first time.
They limited teams to 44.7 per cent shooting, second-lowest in the league.
Miami's Bam Adebayo earned the other first-place vote and finished fourth while Giannis Antetokounmpo rounded out the top five.
Milwaukee's two-time league MVP Antetokounmpo ended Gobert's reign last year.
Gobert's third DPOY award broke a tie for the team record with Mark Eaton, who died last month at 64.
He averaged 14.3 points and 13.5 rebounds, tying a career high, in 71 games this season.
Gobert's 2.7 blocks per game ranked second in the league.
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