Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons snubbed from Defensive Player of the Year finalists

Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers have no representation in the tentpole awards conversation. Ben Simmons was the most notable snub.

The finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year races were released yesterday and they include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, and Rudy Gobert. Although these three players are exceptional defenders and amazing players in their own right, there was one potential snub from the list — Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons.

Currently sitting out the rest of the seeding games with a subluxation of the left patella, the 24-year-old All-Star is having a stellar season, especially on the defensive end of the court. Averaging roughly 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, he has had an undeniable impact on this Sixers team.

A combination of Ben’s 6-foot-10 frame and his continuously improving defensive I.Q. contributes to the dominance he is showing on the defensive end of the floor. The following numbers puts that into perspective:

  • Leading NBA in Steals (119)
  • Leading NBA in Steals per Game (2.1)
  • 3rd in Deflections (222)
  • 3rd in Deflections per Game (3.9)
  • 3rd in Loose Balls Recovered (98)
  • 2nd in Loose Balls Recovered per Game (1.8)

Adding to this, he has the capability of guarding every position from one through five. The ranges from the quick and elusive Trae Young all the way to locking up towering and powerful centers like Enes Kanter.

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He also takes on the added responsibility of guarding the opposing team’s best scorer in the final stages of the fourth quarter. Similarly, his efficiency in locking down high-profile elite scorers highlights just how much of an impact his presence has on the court.

These are the shooting numbers of specific players when guarded by Ben:

  • Trae Young – 2/11 (18%)
  • LeBron James – 2/9 (22%)
  • Jimmy Butler – 3/12 (25%)
  • Russell Westbrook – 4/14 (29%)
  • Jayson Tatum – 5/16 (31%)

Other notable categories he ranks first in are as follows:

  • Matchup Difficulty: Which is determined through the time spent defending players by usage tier (min 1500 minutes)
  •  Passing Lane Defense: The deflections and interceptions per 75 possessions on defense (min 1500 minutes)
  • Two-Way Primary Usage: Time spent being the No.1 option on offense whilst guarding the opposing No.1 player (min 1500 minutes)
  • % vs All-Star, All-NBA: Time Spent guarding All-Star and All-NBA talent, whereby he is first in both

These numbers continue to show why Ben Simmons deserves to be one of the finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year category. Having said that, Simmons can only improve from here as he is still just 24 years old, and he has a lot of potential for the future.

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Even though he didn’t make it as one of the finalists, I expect him to make it into the first team All-Defense, as well as on one of the main All-NBA teams for this season.