NBA Coach on Ben Simmons’ Defense: ‘What More Do You Want? He Has it All’
While many people who cover the NBA expect Ben Simmons to be moved, coaches still find him to excel in one area - defense.
A collection of NBA coaches were recently surveyed anonymously by The Athletic to find out who are the best defensive players in the league.
In all, 13 coaches were asked for their top-three picks for Defensive Player of the Year in order of preference.
The media does the vote for the official league awards and voted for Utah's Rudy Gobert as the leagues top defensive player. However, when it comes to the NBA coaches, they don't see it the same way, voting for Simmons as the top defensive player in the league.
“Size, speed, strength, ability to guard smalls, ability to guard bigs, what more do you want? He has it all,” a coach said of Simmons. “Length, shot-blocking ability. They’re such a dynamic team when he’s on the floor. Quick in the passing lanes to get steals. That’s his contribution to the game.”
One has to wonder how much weight that will carry when Daryl Morey makes calls or takes calls regarding his much maligned star. Many Simmons detractors will lament the lack of growth in his offensive game. That came to light much more during these playoffs where Simmons essentially disappeared during the series with the Atlanta Hawks, attempting just three field goal attempts in the fourth quarter of the series, including zero attempts of Games 4-7, which was highlighted by passing up a wide-open dunk and shooting a paltry 34% from the free throw line during the postseason. While Simmons isn't a very good free-throw shooter to begin with, he went from his regular season .613 before plummeting to just 12-of-39 free throws in the Hawks series and 22-of-67 (33 percent) during the NBA playoffs.
As the team "continue to canvass the league for Ben Simmons trades," you have to wonder how much value rival teams will place on his defense.
“I know Gobert is Gobert and he blocks a lot of shots and does everything, but Simmons is so disruptive,” one coach told us as he explained his Defensive Player of the Year vote. “You can’t go wrong with either guy, but the versatility with Simmons is what put him over the top for me.”
What the Sixers need to weigh is, will making a trade make them different or better? Will adding a offensive player give them more scoring, but hurt them on the defensive end of the floor?
If Simmons can just improve his free throw-shooting, is that enough or is it time to move on from him and his defense and find someone who complements Joel Embiid more?
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