Ben Simmons has always been a good defender, but coming into the 2019/20 season, he set himself a goal. He wanted to be Defensive Player of the Year. That seemed slightly far-reaching at the time, but it has come to fruition nicely.
He has looked like a lock for first team All-Defense 22 games into the season, and isn’t that far off DPOY level. Averaging a league-leading 2.5 steals per game and second in the NBA in steal percent at 6 foot 10 is no small feat. Combine this with his prowess defending in the post and you’ve got an incredible defender. His struggles defending smaller guards will improve over time, but they do present an issue that could hold him back.
The real question is, can he surpass the likes of Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert for the honours? Well, it would need a lot of improvement. Gobert has been the poster boy of defense for the last two seasons, and he will not be easily overtaken, but it is possible. Simmons will very likely just have to be happy with his All-Defensive first team and go at it again next year.
History does not serve Simmons well, as only one Point Guard in NBA history has ever won Defensive Player of the Year, Gary Payton in 1995-96. But Simmons has an advantage over all the other PG's vying for the award, which is his height. This height means he is able to rebound at a level near to that of the Centers who take home the award time after time.
While he may not get much recognition for it, Ben Simmons is a great defender, and it should come as no surprise that the 76ers have a top 5 defense with him and Joel Embiid together at the helm. This is certainly a defensive duo to watch for the future.