Sixers: Ben Simmons is best choice for Defensive Player of the Year

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

There’s plenty of things that have been said about the Philadelphia 76ers‘ All-Star Ben Simmons this season. He struggled offensively to begin the year and was included in James Harden trade rumors. However, as the All-Star break begins, there’s one other thing that should be associated with Simmons and that is becoming the front runner of the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.

Two-time winner center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was the presumable favorite to begin the season and still is the clear front runner for some. It’s understandable why he is. Gobert anchors a Utah defensive who is third in defensive ratings and fourth in points allowed.

Gobert himself is averaging 14.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. Compared to the whole NBA he’s second in rebounds, second in blocks, second in defensive rating, first in defensive wins shares, and ninth in defensive plus/minus. Despite the impressive states, Simmons should still be the front runner.

The Philadelphia 76ers have the Defensive Player of the year front runner in Ben Simmons.

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Regarding the argument for Simmons is simple. He’s the most versatile defender in the NBA. He has proven this season he can guard position one through five. This season he’s averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks. He’s also seventh in steals, 20th in defensive ratings, 11th defensive win shares, and 11th in defensive box plus/minus.

While his personal stats aren’t in his favor, he’s leading the 76ers in being a top defensive team in their own right. Philly is ranked fifth in defensive rating and 12th in points allowed. These stats make it appear that Gobert is in the lead, but it’s more than just stats.

Simmons has severely hampered some big name players this season, including Donavon Mitchell in the Sixers’ and Jazz’s most recent matchup. Gobert on the other hand has been exposed by some of the bigger stars in the league.

Both Simmons and Joel Embiid has scored 40-plus points against Gobert in different matchups. Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans also recently exploded offensively against the two-time defensive player of the year. Gobert can be exposed in certain matchups, whereas Simmons has rarely been exposed this season.

There’s no denying that Gobert is anchoring one of the best defensive teams, but Simmons is the most versatile defender and hasn’t really been exposed on that end of the court this season. The same can’t be said about Gobert.

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Simmons is the most versatile defender in the NBA and he doesn’t get exposed in certain matchups. With that in mind, the Philadelphia 76ers’ star playmaker deserves the Defensive Player of the year up to this point in the season.