Wizards coach weighs in on Ben Simmons’ DPOY chances originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Sixers’ second-best player was battered by critics early in their first round series against the Wizards, but by the time the series ended Wednesday night Ben Simmons was back to impressing everyone around him.
Simmons closed the Sixers’ series win out with an incredible Game 5 performance, dropping a triple-double and giving Wizards star Bradley Beal a headache on the defensive end in a picture-perfect second half.
Simmons’ game is well-documented by now, and possibly his most impressive trait is his defending, which has him vying for Defensive Player of the Year this season against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
If the choice was up to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, it would be a simple pick:
Good call, Scott.
Simmons used Wednesday’s series-closer to make another rock-solid case for the award, starting on the big men in the first half before switching to clamping up Beal in the closing quarters.
And Game 5 wasn’t the only time Simmons used his defensive versatility to shut down the Wizards. Look at these numbers from Game 4:
Gafford is a towering 6-foot-10 power forward/center, while Westbrook is a 6-foot-3 lightning bolt point guard, and Simmons was able to disrupt both.
He’s simply the most valuable defender in the league when it comes to the breadth of his talents, and he absolutely deserves the award this season.
Just ask Scott Brooks.