At this point, everybody who pays even the slightest bit of attention to basketball knows that Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons wants to be the Defensive Player of the Year. As the three-time All-Star prides himself on being a guy who can guard one through five and who will welcome the challenge of trying to stop stars every night, Simmons believes he's the clear-cut winner for the award.
"I’m not even questioning it right now," Simmons told GQ Magazine recently in regards to his status as the league's best defender. "I know I am. That’s a fact." That's just one of many examples of Simmons campaigning for himself to be considered the league's best defender this season.
While Simmons has discussed his defensive star power more than anybody this year, the star guard isn't the only one campaigning for himself. Throughout the course of the season, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers has mentioned that he believes his starting point guard deserves that league-wide recognition as the NBA's best defender.
Also, Simmons' superstar teammate Joel Embiid has mentioned he deserves it too. Of course, Simmons' head coach and teammates will come with a bias on the subject, but even the competition recognizes the former first-overall pick's value on defense.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers came to Philly to face the Sixers for the second and final time this year. Before the matchup, Clippers head coach Ty Lue offered up his opinion on the idea that Ben Simmons could win Defensive Player of the Year.
“He wants it. You know, he wants to guard the best player," Lue said hours before tip-off. "Playing him last year, one time he ran all the way across the court to try to get to Kawhi (Leonard) because he wants to guard the best. When you’re a defender -- a top-notch defender -- you want that challenge of guarding the best player every single night. When you watch Philly play, he does it every single night. He wants that challenge. He takes that challenge, and that’s 80-percent of the battle right there, just wanting that challenge every single night.”
Unfortunately, Simmons didn't get the opportunity to match up against Los Angeles' best since Kawhi Leonard missed his fourth-straight game on Friday. However, he did spend a couple of minutes primarily defending Paul George, who scored a game-high of 37 points on Friday night.
Although George's numbers were high, he wasn't all that productive, with Simmons guarding him. According to NBA.com, George scored just six of his 37 points, with Simmons as his primary defender. George also turned the ball over three times during that period. While Simmons didn't get the matchup he wanted on Friday night with Leonard out, he still put on another performance that's sure to boost his chances of winning DPOY once again.https://www.si.com/nba/76ers/news/clippers-ty-lue-weighs-ben-simmons-defensive-star-power