Ben Simmons has officially been announced as a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team. The NBA announced the individuals who made the All-Defensive teams on Tuesday.
The third-year Australian battled his way to one of the most dominant defensive seasons we’ve seen from a Sixers in a long while.
Simmons showed great anticipation, leading the entire NBA in Steals per game and trailing only Houston’s James Harden in total steals. Simmons has improved his defense steadily each year before becoming utterly dominant this season. Often tasked with defending the other team’s best offensive player, Simmons was able to hold his own and then some.
When the Sixers’ needed a stop, Ben Simmons’ name was called and he answered strongly. Here’s a fun little graphic to show how some of those All-Stars (and SGA) fared against Simmons:
The past cannot be changed but if Ben Simmons were healthy for the series against the Boston Celtics, the Sixers could have at least made the series respectable.
Simmons had earned the right to be mentioned in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion but was inexplicably snubbed. While this does not make up for it, it is still an award he fully deserves and should be proud of. Though the Sixers certainly wish they could have twice the celebration.
One name noticeably absent from the list is the Sixers’ star Center Joel Embiid. Embiid had been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in the past two consecutive seasons so his absence is disappointing especially for a player who claims to desire to win Defensive Player of the Year. Embiid’s season was far from his best and even further from what everyone knows he can do. Hopefully, Embiid takes this to heart and uses Simmons’ victory to fuel some healthy competition.
Mandatory Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire