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Ben Simmons: in defense of the 76ers all-star PG

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Home » basketball » NBA » Ben Simmons: in defense of the 76ers all-star PG

Ben Simmons defense has been a beautiful thing to watch in 2020-21. He is a problem to all elite scorers in the NBA, regardless of what position they play.

Ben Simmons perimeter defense

Ben Simmons is the best perimeter defender in the NBA today. He is so much more than that though.

Only a handful of defenders in the NBA were ever as versatile as Ben Simmons is on defense. He routinely defends four positions on the floor without any help. He does this and helps other teammates in their assignments.

Without Ben Simmons the Sixers wouldn’t have a good perimeter defense. It would be a liability. Ben Simmons guards more of the NBA’s top superstars than any other defender in the league.

Versatility

Ben Simmons playing tight defense on Kevin Love.
Dec 27, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) during the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

When Doc Rivers finally got to evaluate the 2020-21 Philadelphia 76ers, obviously he said to the squad if any opponent tries to iso on Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Shake Milton, or Furkan Korkmaz, attempting to expose a mismatch on the Sixers perimeter defense, immediately switch with Ben.

Ben Simmons defense has no limitations when guarding the NBA’s best offensive players on a nightly basis. One night it’s Pascal Siakam, an athletic power forward and the next his assignment could be Dame Lillard, James Harden, LeBron James or Bradley Beal.

If the Sixers are playing the Brooklyn Nets, for example, Simmons could be checking Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or James Harden on any possession at anytime.

Lakers Game

LeBron James tries to penetrate Ben Simmons' defense.

In late January, the Sixers beat the Lakers on a game winner from Tobias Harris. Ben Simmons had a 17-11-10 triple-double that night. Most fans saw and recognized this but that wasn’t the most amazing thing Ben did that night. Players get triple-doubles on a regular basis compared to the unique versatility he exhibited this night.

What Ben Simmons did that game that no other player is capable of is he defended LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dennis Schroder. Amazing, Sixers fans there is only one other player who would’ve ever been capable of this.

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Worm Rodman

Magic Johnson bodied by Dennis Rodman in Detroit

When Dennis Rodman was in Detroit he could guard every position on the floor too. When all is said and done Dennis Rodman may be the only player more versatile than Ben Simmons defensive prowess now.

NBA X Hugo Boss Gear

LeBron vs D. Rose

Derrick Rose looks to drive on LeBron James durin the 2011 ECF.
MIAMI, FL – MAY 24: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat defends Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 101-93 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In LeBron James first season in Miami, the Heat faced off against NBA MVP Derrick Rose and the top seeded Chicago Bulls. I mentioned at the beginning about only a handful of defenders had the defensive versatility of Ben Simmons, LeBron James is one of those.

One of my top 5 moments in the legendary career of James is never talked about, during the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron bodied Rose at times. Shadowing the MVP, something nobody else seemed capable of doing at the time.

Derrick Rose didn’t even seem to believe it was happening. It was the key factor in Miami advancing to the NBA Finals in 2011.

Only two things stopped Derrick Rose on the basketball court from 2010-2012, LeBron James and his own knee.

Ben & Bron

Ben Simmons shows off his defense and wingspan blocking Darren Collison at the rim

Ben Simmons has the same skillset as LeBron James in every category that is used to evaluate talent and make up scouting reports, the only difference is he doesn’t possess a jumpshot. If Ben Simmons did develop a jumper he would be the best player in the NBA when he enters his prime in 3-4 years.

Any players prime is from 27-32, give or take a year or two.

LeBron & Ben are the only two players with this specific skillset and with a jumper, Ben Simmons is the closest thing to LeBron James that there is.

Some people think they know more than me about evaluating talent, because that statement makes some fans accuse me of lacking basketball knowledge. If this is what you’re thinking right now, I assure you, it’s you lacking the expertise, not me.

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Ben’s skillset.

  • He is 6’11 with the body of a power-forward
  • Speed & athleticism of an elite point guard
  • Can guard almost every position on the floor, sometimes he literally can
  • When he pushes the ball he is as dangerous as any player in the NBA
  • Superior vision
  • Playmaker that with a jumpshot would make every teammate on the floor with Ben more dangerous

Ben Simmons can make a career out of his defense and point guard skills but to take the Sixers to the next level he’ll probably need a jumper to keep defenses honest in the playoffs. Now good defenders cheat making it tougher on Ben on the offensive end to get to the rim.

Heart & Toughness

There are 76ers fans on social media that say Ben Simmons lacks heart and toughness. They call him soft.

I say to these people STFU! STFU because you are ignorant and don’t deserve to be allowed to talk Sixers basketball with fans that understand the game.

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, STFU!!!
There isn’t an NBA player who is half the defender Ben Simmons is, that lacks heart or toughness. You must be tough and have heart to do what Ben Simmons does on the defensive end with half the consistency he exhibits.

Most of what he does is natural talent and ability but to utilize these talents and advantages takes toughness. A lot of toughness.

I’ve never seen a great defender who was soft. Soft is James Harden, soft is Dario Saric.

Ben Knows it, do you?

Ben Simmons knows what he is capable of on defense. He thinks he’s the best defender in the league and he plays like he’s trying to prove it to the Philadelphia fans every game he straps up.

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The Sixers became a playoff team the first game Ben Simmons played. Not before then.

Unfortunately there are too many Sixers fans that seem to only care about what the boxscore says after each game.

push it elite

Even if a fan’s knowledge is inept at recognizing defensive assignments and what Ben Simmons means to the Sixers defense, they should be shockingly amazed at his quickness, athleticism, speed, and vision when he’s pushing the ball.

Ben Simmons is the tallest point guard to ever push the rock at 6’11, 240 pounds. He pushes the rock and puts pressure on the opponents defense as well as any elite point guard in the game.

Simmons runs the Sixers offense better than most guards and he does it with superior vision that only a couple of players have in the game today.

He is in the top 10 in assists and a couple good games from being in the top 5. His height allows him to make passes over-the-top of defenses that would be impossible for smaller guards.

Ben Simmons has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios among assists-per-game leaders in the NBA. This is impressive considering the pace he runs his offense.

If the Sixers had an offense with elite wings running the floor, believe me when I say we might be talking about the player with the most assists-per-game when we talk about Ben Simmons offensively.

Perk

Kendrick Perkins gets it.

Knock off the Nonsense

Many Sixers fans have become more knowledgeable and understand the uniqueness and versatility that Ben Simmons brings to the defense. Many have not and don’t want to hear it.

I’ve heard some really ridiculous things lately that people talk about for days on social media, ideas like trading Ben for Zach Lavine. Wait, what, how is that a conversation at all?

Some are upset the James Harden trade didn’t go down. I gasped a sign of relief when Harden went to Brooklyn. There have been many defenseless scorers like James Harden throughout the NBA’s history, they never lead teams to championships. Harden won’t either. The Nets won’t be winning anything this season. They’ll be lucky to escape the 2nd round of the playoffs.

How many points you score is important, not that important

How many points you score in playoff games is important but it’s not that important. It’s not like scoring points decides who wins or loses playoff games or playoff series’.

If you think that last statement is stupid or idiotic, you my friend have much to learn.

NO TEAM THAT ISN”T GOOD DEFENSIVELY HAS EVER WON AN NBA TITLE AND NEVER WILL.

By the 2nd round of the playoffs or possibly the conference finals, your opponent will get stops when it matters, if you can not reciprocate by stopping them, you lose. They lost before the series even started.

The Nets have zero chance to get to the NBA Finals. They can’t get stops.

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YOU CAN’T WIN PLAYOFF SERIES’ BY OUTSCORING YOUR OPPONENT.
YOU WIN WITH DEFENSE AND RINGS ARE EARNED FROM STOPPING YOUR OPPONENT FROM SCORING.

This has been true every single season that the NBA crowned a champion. Don’t worry how many points Ben Simmons scores, focus on how he is stopping the opponent from scoring the ball.

Regression?

Ben Simmons plays tight defense on LeBron James

Another thing Ben Simmons haters like to post about is that he has regressed since hus rookie season.

If anyone was on the fence about this, I hope this article has helped you realize that that is laughable at best.

Ben Simmons guards the best players in the NBA each game. Regardless of position.

He led the NBA in steals in 2019-20 and is among the leaders this season as well as a leader in assists.

Simmons was a first team all-defensive selection last season and will be again in 2021.

When all is said and done, he could be the NBA defensive player-of-the-year. No one else is capable of picking up all the assignments Ben Simmons does defensively on a nightly basis.

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I write highly opinionated features. If I write a piece that's in the news cycle, believe Its not what is being repeated and re-done. Its an. original take.

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