Insane stat shows off Simmons’ prowess
BEN Simmons has never been far from the spotlight since the beginning of his NBA career after being taken with the first overall pick back in 2016.
The Aussie has helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers from the pits of the league to a perennial powerhouse in the Eastern Conference alongside All-Star big man Joel Embiid.
Unfortunately, since Simmons first stepped on to the NBA hardwood, the limelight has shone brightly on the offensive side of his game. Or lack thereof.
Through 197 career games, Simmons has shown an unwillingness to shoot from anywhere beyond 3m away from the basket.
His inability to shoot from beyond the arc reached extraordinary levels and the internet also broke when he finally stepped up and nailed his first career three.
This season he's faced heavy scrutiny for not expanding on his game and has been heavily linked with trade rumours ahead of the February deadline.
While the focus remains on his offensive game, it's at the other end of the floor where he's doing not only his best work, but some of the best in the entire league.
Defensively, Simmons is the perfect cocktail of weapons. At 208cm tall with a 214cm wingspan and an ability to be able to move like a gazelle, Simmons is a nightmare for opposing teams.
Ahead of the 2019-20 season the 23-year-old revealed one goal he had in mind, to be the Defensive Player of the Year.
Many players make big and bold claims as they head into a new season, but Simmons is making his prediction look more and more like it could become a reality.
Ben Simmons hustles back to make the steal and sets up Norvel Pelle for your Heads Up Play of the Day! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/eS7KOLSj5b— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 10, 2020
With fellow All-Star Embiid now out of the Sixers line-up, and without a definitive timetable for return, even more eyes will be locked in on Simmons and if he can lead the team.
Defensively he's been doing it all season long by locking up some of the biggest and best players in the league.
A Reddit user (u/Wentzsylvania13) highlighted just how good Simmons has been with one insane stat.
Simmons' five most defended players this season have combined to score 50 points on 19-59 shooting from the field (32 per cent).
The five players aren't scrubs either, with Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, Pascal Siakam and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being the culprits.
Saw this on reddit/r/nba (via u/Wentzsylvania13):— Andrew Porter (@And_Porter) January 10, 2020
Ben Simmons' 5 most defended players this season: Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, Pascal Siakam, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Those players have combined to score 50 points on 19-59 FG when guarded by Simmons. 🔥 🔒
The figure shows just how important Simmons is, even without a jump shot in his arsenal, to the Sixers and their hopes of a deep play-off push.
Philadelphia own the league's sixth-best defence with Simmons the most important cog to their machine.
Simmons' activity on the defensive end has him leading the league in steals (2.1 per game) and loose balls recovered (71), while sitting third in deflections (140).
His biggest game defensively of the season came against the Indiana Pacers. He shut down his opponents on three separate occasions down the stretch to ice the game for the Sixers.
"I just love guarding great players. I take that challenge upon myself, I really don't mind who I'm put on. It's always going to be a challenge and I enjoy it," Simmons said following a game against the Utah Jazz.
Fans will continue to point to his lack of a jump shot, an issue he will eventually need to amend, but they'd be wise to watch the Aussie go to work defensively to get an understanding of his true value to the Sixers.
His name may continue to be floated in trade talks, but losing a talent like Simmons could spell disaster for the franchise.