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#pounditThursday, July 29, 2021

Ben Simmons disses Rudy Gobert over Defensive Player of the Year case

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons once beefed with Donovan Mitchell over the Rookie of the Year Award. Now he is beefing with one of Mitchell’s teammates over another award.

The Philadelphia 76ers star appeared this week on ESPN’s “The Jump.” In the appearance, Simmons hyped himself up for Defensive Player of the Year while slighting Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, another top candidate.

“I’m one of those guys who can guard 1 through 5,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of respect for Rudy. I know what he’s capable of. I know he’s great down there in the paint. But he’s not guarding everybody, and that’s just what it is.

“He guarded me in Utah,” Simmons added about Gobert. “I had 42 [points], and apparently I’m not a scorer, so it is what is. But I have a lot of respect for him. But at the same time, I think it’s mine this year.”

Gobert, a two-time DPOY winner, is an elite rim protector. That is arguably the single most important defensive asset for a team to have. But in today’s era of switching screens and hunting mismatches, more versatile defenders such as Simmons who are just as effective out on the perimeter may be the preference for some.

This is actually not the first time Simmons has gone after Gobert. He has expressed skepticism about Gobert’s defensive ability before.

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