Last night was big for the, "Ben Simmons is the best defensive player in the NBA" narrative. A narrative that has its merit.
Simmons, at 6'11" and 240-ish pounds, primarily guarded one of the NBA's best offensive players in Luka Doncic on national television on Thursday night, holding him to 6-13 shooting, 19 points, and seven turnovers in 29 minutes in an easy Sixers win.
Here is the content producer for Get Up on ESPN.
After the game, Simmons told the NBA on TNT crew that he believes he is the best defensive player in the league and can guard every position, which is true.
Dwight Howard echoed the same sentiment.
“It’s been amazing," Howard said of Simmons' defense via NBCSportsPhilly. "He’s picking up guards, he’s playing bigs, he’s playing one through five. A couple games ago, he was playing against Rudy Gobert, and now he’s playing against Luka. He’s taken the idea that I can play anybody, that I can check anybody on defense. I believe he’s the best defensive player in the league right now. He’s doing an amazing job.”
Simmons, 24, was just recently named to his third straight all-star team and is coming off his first ever first-team All-NBA defensive team, last season.
For the Sixers, they have two all-stars in Simmons and Joel Embiid, who each believe they are the best defensive player in their sports, and both have a legitimate case. Needless to say, this is easily the best young defensive duo in the NBA.
Last night will go a long way for Simmons' case for defensive player of the year.