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Joel Embiid finishes behind Rudy Gobert for Defensive Player of the Year

Second on the ballot, first in our hearts.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s NBA draft hyped up the next wave of talent set to enter the league next season. Rumors are flying about some of the biggest names in the sport potentially switching teams when the free agency window opens this weekend. Naturally, the NBA decided this was the perfect time to have its annual awards show, celebrating a regular season that ended two months ago and everyone has already basically put behind them.

The Sixers were well represented at the event. Ben Simmons overcame a riveting sweatshirt campaign to take home the Rookie of the Year award. Unfortunately for Philadelphia fans, it wasn’t a clean sweep for the Sixers, as Joel Embiid lost out to Rudy Gobert for Defensive Player of the Year. While the award would have been a well-deserved honor in recognition of Embiid’s spectacular sophomore campaign, Sixers fans will gladly accept the simple fact that the star center was able to play 63 regular season games and lead the team to the second round of the playoffs.

With this belated ceremony putting an official cap on the 2017-18 season, we can now turn our full attention to the craziness of this summer and the 2018-19 campaign. We now return you to your regular scheduled LeBron and Kawhi rumors.

Update: voting totals provided by Embiid received 2 1st-place votes, 44 2nd-place votes, and 21 3rd-place votes.

(Note: a previous version of this story stated Defensive Player of the Year would have triggered Embiid’s super max clause in his upcoming contract extension. MVP would have been a triggering event, not DPOY. Embiid also not did win MVP, and will make the regular max of $25.25M next season.)

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