While the MVP race may be a huge toss-up this season, the Defensive Player of the Year race is a hard-fought battle between two stars: Ben Simmons of the 76ers and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.
And while a solid case can be made for both of them, Simmons recently explained what separates him from his competitor.
“No disrespect to Rudy at all, he is a great shot blocker, defender, but he’s not guarding one through five [point guards to centers], he is guarding fives and probably big fours [power forwards]," Simmons said.
"He’s a great defender, but I don’t think he’s guarding one through fives, you can’t tell him to go guard Kawhi [Leonard] or Paul [George] or guard a point guard. He’s not doing that on a daily basis.”
When it comes to guarding the interior, there isn't anyone better than Gobert, who is already a 2x Defensive Player of the Year.
Love him or hate him, Simmons isn't wrong about his take. Unlike Gobert (and a whole lot of others) he can guard any position and against all different types of opponents. He has the size, quickness, and talent to cover a much wider spectrum defensively.
Whether or not he'll win DPOY, however, is still very much up in the air.