Ben Simmons and Rudy Gobert are engaged in a big battle for the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year award. The Australian and French players are having very good seasons on the defensive end of the ball but they're trying to do some extras to convince people that they're the rightful winners of the award.
The Philadelphia 76ers star did his part on Tuesday, reminding everybody that the center had nothing to do against him when they clashed earlier this year. He went after the haters saying he's not a scorer yet he scored 42 points on Gobert, trying to make the case for himself and bring down the Frenchman. In a recent interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols, Simmons said (4:24):
"I’m one of those guys who can guard one through five," Simmons said. "Obviously, there’s a lot of respect for Rudy. I know what he’s capable of. I know he’s great down there in the paint.
Moreover, he said that Gobert can't guard all the five positions on the court and that should be another factor to consider at the time of voting for the winner of the award.
"But he’s not guarding everybody, and that’s just what it is. He guarded me in Utah. I had 42. And apparently I’m not a scorer. It is what it is."
In their first duel, the Jazz won 134-123, with Simmons dropping 42 on them but leaving the court with a loss. Simmons has been getting better on the defensive end and he's considered one of the best defenders in the league right now. While Gobert has won the award twice in his career, the Aussie will try to get his first one and he's doing everything he can to convince people he does deserve the prize.
Something that Simmons omitted during his interview with Nichols is that Jordan Clarkson scored 40 points during the same game he scored 42 and Clarkson actually won the game. Sure, you can say the Jazz guard is a scorer but Simmons was also having a hard time against him, just like Gobert had with guarding the former No. 1 pick.