Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce got into a headed debate on the Top 5 players…
The Sixers are the best defensive team in the league, and we’ve been blessed to watch that all season. Whether it’s the DPOY in Ben Simmons, the rim protector Joel Embiid, or the young prodigy Matisse Thybulle, the team is loaded with star defenders. The latest defensive player of the year rankings were released today, and man did it make us smile.
#1: Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is the best defender in the league, and their truly isn’t any argument. He is a straight nuisance at all times on the defensive end, being all up in players faces and giving them nowhere to go at all times, with his 6’10 body and 7’0 wingspan. He’s quick, smart, aggressive, and his court awareness is just top tier.
We all know that Ben can struggle on offense some nights, that’s not private information. But the biggest part of Ben’s game is his ability to elevate other aspects when he is struggling. Ben Simmons finished with five points Sunday night vs the Spurs, and still finished in the positive in the plus minus category. If that doesn’t tell you all that you need to know, then stop box score watching and go watch the game. Ben Simmons is a special basketball player, and his defensive awareness at all times is just unbelievable.
#5: Matisse Thybulle
Matisse Thybulle is just unreal, and there isn’t really a better word to describe his defense. He’s a pest, he’s the bully that takes your lunch money, and he’s that company that never stop calling you about free car insurance, no matter how many times you tell them to stop. Matisse Thybulle checked into last night’s win over the Bulls with a little bit of time left in the first. The first thing he did when he checked in, was this unbelievable play…
It’s crazy to sit back and think, that if Thybulle was a starter, the Sixers would have #1 and #2 in the final DPOY rankings. His quickness on the defensive side of the court is something that I have truly never seen. He gets to the ball faster than anybody in the NBA, and he never disappoints when he’s guarding top guys in the league. He is a special defender, and if he can start shooting consistent from deep, he’s going to turn into one of the best two way players in the whole league.
#8: Joel Embiid
How blessed are we as Sixers fans, that Joel Embiid isn’t the first, or even second, best defender on this team? Joel’s rim protection has grown so much this season, sending attempted drives and dunks to the floor like it’s his 9-5 job. We all know how good Jo has been on offense this year, but his defense doesn’t deserve to go un-noticed either. The clip above amazes me more and more every time I watch it, watching a 7’2 center give a point guard the absolute work for 15 straight seconds.
Joel Embiid *my MVP* has been the best basketball player in the world this year. The keyword there is “basketball”, because his all around game is what gives him that title. Being able to do it on both sides of the court every night doesn’t happen very often. and Joel Embiid has been doing that with ease this season.
“Defense wins championships”. Everyone knows that quote, but I can’t fall back on how important defense is to this team enough. Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Joel Embiid are three special defenders. They are going to have to give you everything they’ve showed you this season to have any chance at bringing that title back to Philly. Success runs like clockwork with this team, and a majority of that is thanks to the three defensive player of the year candidates taking over this team, when they need them the most.
Mandatory Credit: Sixers