Joel Embiid will likely continue to say he’s the best defensive player in the league. However, he’ll have to wait another season for the trophy to back it up.
Embiid failed to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year at the league’s annual awards show on Monday night. Jazz center Rudy Gobert took home the hardware over Embiid and Pelicans star big man Anthony Davis.
Embiid placed second in the voting. He garnered two of 101 possible first-place votes, 44 second-place votes and 21 third-place votes for a total of 163 points. That was well behind Gobert's 466 total points.
“… I should be the Defensive Player of the Year because I feel like all year long we’ve done it,” Embiid said in April. “My teammates have helped me a lot and I’m in this situation because of them. I give them a lot of credit. But I still feel like I’ve been the best defensive player in the league this year. Last year, I kind of had the knock on me of not playing a lot of games, but this year I’ve played a lot of games, so I don’t know what excuse they’re going to find next.”
However, both Gobert and Davis put together stellar defensive seasons and were each named to the league’s All-Defensive first team. Embiid made the second team, which should have served as a precursor for the DPOY voting.
The big fella will now have to wait another season for his crack to become the first Sixer to win Defensive Player of the Year since Dikembe Mutombo in 2000-01.
Still, the night wasn't a complete loss for Embiid. He was unveiled as the cover athlete for NBA LIVE 19 The ONE Edition video game.