Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown isn't shy about sticking up for his guys and giving them praise when they deserve it most. The 7th year Sixers mentor continued his campaign for Ben Simmons on the 2019-20 All-Defensive First Team after his stellar defensive performance in their 100-89 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

“He is a physical presence by a lot when you watch him play defense,” Brown said via Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I thought he changed the game.”

Then Brown asked something he has voiced frequently this year: “How can he not be a first team all-(NBA) defensive player?”

Mid-way through the season, it could be argued that Simmons is deserving of that honor. The 2018 Rookie of the Year has established himself as a top-notch defender in the league.

And the statistics back it up as well.

Simmons currently leads the NBA in steals (total and per game) and ranks 5th in defensive win share across the Association. Likewise, he ranks 18th in defensive rating.

In addition, per stats, the Sixers All-Star is also in the top-5 in deflections per game with 3.8, with a total of 147 on the season. He also leads the league in total loose balls recovered with 72, averaging 1.8 per contest.

All these stats support Brown's campaign. If the NBA gives mid-season awards, Simmons would definitely be one of the members of the All-Defensive First Team.

Simmons went on record prior to the start of the season that he aims to win the Defensive Player of the Year award this season. While most of the recognition is going to Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis, or even reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, perhaps people should start showing some love for Simmons for his elite play on that end of the court.

Simmons' prowess on the defensive end is overshadowed by his zero to little progress on his most glaring weakness: shooting. Still, despite his short-comings on that aspect of his game, the 23-year old is busy proving himself to be one of the elite impact defenders in the NBA today.