Excelling in a revamped offense that’s allowed them to put forth their best seasons to date, Philadelphia 76ers All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have had the Sixers at the top of the Eastern Conference Standings for quite some time.
With their spectacular performances, both Embiid and Simmons are in consideration for two of the NBA’s most prestigious awards in Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
On Tuesday, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers joined ESPN’s “The Jump” and campaigned for his team’s leaders to win the awards. In the process, the Rivers made it known that he believes Simmons “is a lock” for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
“He guards every position. He’s everywhere. He literally at times swallows players”
Over the course of his career, Simmons has been one of the league’s most versatile defenders, demonstrating the ability to lock down players of all sizes. His combination of length, strength, athleticism and basketball IQ has allowed him to maximize his potential, particularly as he becomes increasingly familiar with his opponent’s tendencies.
Averaging 1.5 steals and 0.7 blocks per game this season, Simmons ranks ninth in both defensive box plus-minus (2.0) and defensive win shares (1.9), per Basketball Reference. NBA.com’s tracking data has Simmons holding opponents to .409 percent shooting from the field and .327 percent shooting from 3-point range.
In addition, Simmons is holding opponents to 0.81 points per possession in isolation, 0.86 points per possession when defending pick-and-roll ball-handlers and 0.86 points per possession when defending spot-up shooters.