Skip to main content

Ben Simmons Says He Is The Only One Who Can Guard Kevin Durant And Kyrie Irving At The Highest Level: 'I Mean, Kawhi Leonard When He Was Really Playing Defense Like That, Of Course.'

Ben Simmons Says He Is The Only One Who Can Guard Kevin Durant And Kyrie Irving At High Level: 'I Mean, Kawhi Leonard When He Was Really Playing Defense Like That, Of Course.'

Ben Simmons keeps claiming he deserves to win the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year award after a terrific season with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Australian point guard is once again showing he can be a good playmaker and also defend the best player of the rival team, as he did when the Sixers faced the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Simmons has been making the case for himself in recent days, even taking shots at Rudy Gobert, one of his biggest rivals for the award, saying he dropped 42 on him even though he's not considered a scorer. Moreover, the player said that when he had the job to go against Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, that was the confirmation that he deserves the award since nobody else is taking those two big challenges.

Talking with Tyler Tynes of GQ, Ben said that only one player could do what he's doing right now and that's something that happened in the past.

The one thing you’ve been saying to the press consistently this year is: “I’m the Defensive Player of the Year!” What has sparked that in you? Because we don’t often hear you make a claim like that so frequently.

It’s the same with people all around me. I tell them all the time, “Yo! I’m Defensive Player of the Year.” I’m not even questioning it right now. I know I am. That’s a fact. And numbers, certain stats, are cool with certain players. But, at the end of the day, you know….The example would be last night. I was supposed to guard [Kevin Durant]. We match up well size-wise. KD’s out. The next person I’m guarding is Kyrie [Irving]. Like, who’s doing that? It’s not many players who are doing that. And to be doing it at a high level like that? I don’t think there’s anybody else really doing that. I mean, Kawhi [Leonard] when he was really playing defense like that, of course. But, it’s not too many guys.

Didn’t Kyrie have, like, 37 last night though?

Yeah, but we won. His plus/minus was negative, too [it was -13].

He showed his confidence in the interview and even claimed the Sixers are ready to finally make that leap, play in the NBA Finals and win the championship. Simmons is ready to finally win the championship and seeing how well the team is playing, they have a big chance to do so.

The playoffs are coming up and the Sixers might be the best team in the world. What are you looking forward to about the playoffs? It’s obviously been a trek to get over this hump for the last few years, what’s going to be a shift this season?

If we get that No. 1 seed, we keep our hopes up in terms of the energy. Knowing we’d have home-court advantage would be big for us, especially if we get the fans all back. Our record at home has been pretty good, it’s always been good the last few years being able to be home. I think this is the year for us to do it, honestly

To do what? Y’all gonna win the championship?

Win the championship. I genuinely believe that. I feel like there’s been years where guys would’ve said it on the Sixers, but I don’t think we really believed it. But, I genuinely think this is the year.

How do you go about saying you’re going to win a championship without believing you’re going to win a championship? How does that work? How does that work?

Exactly. You’re trying to trick yourself. Guys would be like, “yeahhh we could win.” An example would be, and I won’t say the team, a guy said to me, “damn, we just tryin’ to make the playoffs.” If you don’t even believe you’re going to make the playoffs, how you gonna win a championship? I feel like we genuinely believe we are here to win a championship. That’s the only reason we come in. That’s why we wanna dominate games. We wanna be the best team.

This man is showing a lot of confidence in recent years, being more vocal than in prior years and that's something the fans like to see. There is still a long way for the Finals but these Sixers are on the right track. They beat the Nets on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, two big teams that they could face in the postseason.

Simmons and co. are working to get to play for meaningful stuff and the player isn't resting until he meets his goals.