Doc Rivers Says Ben Simmons 'Is a Lock' to Win NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, left, and Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell reach for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

It's no secret that Ben Simmons is one of the most impactful defensive players in the NBA. But Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers believes the 6'10" point guard is head and shoulders above the rest on the defensive end.

"Joel Embiid for MVP, but Ben Simmons is a lock for Defensive Player of the Year," he said on Tuesday's edition of The Jump on ESPN. "He guards every position. He's everywhere. He literally at times swallows players."

Simmons, 24, is averaging 16 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game, shooting 58.1 percent from the field. The Sixers have an impressive 7.8 net rating when he's on the court that drops to 1.4 when he sits, per NBA.com.

He's already emerged as arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, with the ability to lock down shifty point guards or bang on the block with big men. The Sixers have the ability to put him on an opposing team's best offensive player in crunch time, with his athleticism and length making him incredibly difficult to score against. 

He was a first-team All-Defensive selection last year. Now, Rivers believes he deserves to be crowned as the best defensive player in basketball, period.