Ben Simmons' game took a big step on the defensive side of the ball this season. He showed that he is one of the most versatile defenders in the league and one of the premier perimeter defenders.

Simmons' hard work on that side of the ball has landed him some much deserved league-wide recognition. On Tuesday night the NBA announced its All-Defensive teams, and Simmons was given first team honors.

This season Simmons found himself near the top in multiple defensive categories:

1st in steals per game (2.1)

2nd in total steals (119)

3rd in deflections per game (3.9)

5th in total deflections (222)

Only one player received more first team votes than Simmons and that was the Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo. Simmons had the third-highest point total in the voting with 185, only Giannis and Anthony Davis outscored him.


Simmons was not the only Sixers' player to receive votes. Joel Embiid received one first team vote and nine second team votes. Rookie Matisse Thybulle also landed one second team vote.

This honor was hard earned by the two time All-Star. He is arguably the most versatile defender in the league with his size and speed, not to mention he defended the opponent's best player every night.

At just 24 years of age, this is just the first of many All-Defensive team selections for Simmons. There is no doubt that as Simmons enters his prime he will be in the conversation for the best defender in the league.

Kevin McCormick is the 76ers insider for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.

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