The reason Sixers star Ben Simmons is the best defender in the NBA, per Dwight Howard
Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard definitely knows a thing or two about defense. The 35-year-old owns three Defensive Player of the Year trophies, which he won in three consecutive seasons from 2009 to 2011 during his prime with the Orlando Magic. With that said, Howard is seeing firsthand just how much of a force Sixers teammate Ben Simmons is on that end of the floor.
Howard loves the way Simmons is playing defensively this season and argued that the Aussie’s versatility on that end makes him the best defensive player in the NBA.
“I’m very happy to see how well Ben has been playing on defense,” Howard said following the Sixers’ 111-97 win Thursday night over the Mavericks. “It’s been amazing. He’s picking up guards, he’s playing bigs, he’s playing one through five.
A couple games ago, he was playing against Rudy Gobert, and now he’s playing against Luka (Doncic). He’s taken the idea that I can play anybody, that I can check anybody on defense. I believe he’s the best defensive player in the league right now. He’s doing an amazing job.”
Howard indeed makes an outstanding point with this one. What Simmons is able to do defensively is truly remarkable, with the way he can guard pretty much 1 through 5.
The Sixers star’s length and strength allow him to take on elite big men around the league, while his speed and athleticism help him him in step when guarding some of the best perimeter players in the NBA. What’s more exceptional about Simmons, however, is his willingness to take on the challenge of guarding the best player on the opposing team, regardless of their position. His commitment on that end of the floor has helped the Sixers boast a top-five defense and the best record in the Eastern Conference.