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The Philadelphia 76ers have been missing out on some individual awards in 2021 as they have had some worthy candidates, but it just wasn’t meant to be. After Joel Embiid lost out on MVP to Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, they had another star miss out on a postseason award.

Ben Simmons was named a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, but the award went to Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert for the third time in his career. It does make sense to give the award to Gobert who had another incredible defensive season for the Jazz, but Simmons is a guy who consistently takes on the opposition’s best scorer and he can defend 1-through-5.

Simmons also scored a career-high 42 points against Gobert and the Jazz back in February and Simmons threw some shade at him a bit after the loss.

“I was disappointed Joel didn’t win MVP, but I thought, when you think of Joker, and what he’s done all year and that he’s played in the amount of games that he played in, he was the worthy winner,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I feel the same way about that Ben. Ben missed a ton of games as well, but what I love about both is the last couple years, they weren’t mentioned in either one of those categories and now they’re on the board.”

Simmons continues to lock up the likes of guys like LeBron James, Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, and now he’s defending Trae Young in Round 2 of the playoffs. The argument is that he defends a variety of different players while Gobert obviously only defends big men and defends the rim really.

Due to this argument, some would say that Simmons was snubbed, but one cannot take away from what Gobert has done in Utah.

“I don’t want to use the word snub because you don’t want to take away nothing that Rudy has accomplished over there in Utah,” said George Hill who played for the Jazz in the pas. “I’ve been his teammate as well and he’s he’s a great defender. One of the best in the league and he’s Defensive Player of the Year this year so it is what it is.”

While winning Defensive Player of the Year would have been nice for Simmons, just as winning MVP would have been for Embiid, the Sixers still have a chance at a championship. They want to focus more on that rather than any individual awards right now.

“We don’t really care or try to focus on self accolades right now,” said Hill. “Our goal is to win a championship and I think Ben will be excited to try to win a championship instead of a Defensive Player of the Year. It’s great to get a self-accomplishment award, but I know Ben and I know the competitor he is. What’s more important to him is that championship.”

The good news for both Simmons and Embiid is that they are both younger players. Simmons is only 24 and Embiid at 27 still has a chance at winning these awards.

“With their youth and growth that we anticipate, I do think in the future in the near future, Ben will be Defensive Player of the Year and Joel will be MVP,” Rivers added. “A lot of times you have to have an MVP season, the year before, before you become the MVP, and same thing with any of these awards.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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