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Ben Simmons shoots Rudy Gobert in the DPOY race




Rudy Gobert is the favorite to win his third Defensive Player of the Year trophy.

But Ben Simmons is not far behind in the race and made his case for the hardware during a performance on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Tuesday. The Philadelphia 76ers security guard praised his versatility an interview with host Rachel NicholsHe could not resist attacking Gobert in the process.

“I’m one of those guys who can guard one through five,” said Simmons. “There is clearly a lot of respect for Rudy. I know what he is capable of. I know he’s great down there in the paint.

“But he doesn’t guard everyone, which is exactly what it is. He was guarding me in Utah. I had 42. And apparently I’m not a scorer.

Simmons went on to say that “I have a lot of respect” for Gobert. Okay, Ben.

Philadelphia 76 guard Ben Simmons, 25, passes Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, 27, and watches the basket during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, December 27, 2018 in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo / Chris Nicoll)

Ben Simmons only trailed Rudy Gobert in the odds of winning Defensive Player of the Year. (AP Photo / Chris Nicoll)

Simmons should have checked the box’s score first

Unlike Gobert, Simmons has never won a DPOY. But he was the NBA champion last season on his way to first-team All-Defensive Team honors. He’s putting in a strong effort this season in what appears to be a new All-Defensive Team campaign, averaging 1.6 steals on a 76ers team that ranks second in the NBA in defensive rating.

But he probably should have checked the entire box score before praising his big effort against the Jazz in February. Yes, he scored 42 points. But the Jazz lit the scoreboard in a 134-123 victory, led by backup guard Jordan Clarkson who dropped 40 points to the 76ers.

Simmons can point out many references to defend his DPOY case. That February 15 loss to the Jazz is not one of them.

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