It wouldn’t be a day in the life of the Philadelphia 76ers if they weren’t being disrespected by the NBA in some way, shape or form.
2020-21 NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. This is Gobert's third DPOY.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 10, 2021
Yes, Rudy Gobert has astoundingly been named the Defensive Player of the Year for a third time, prevailing over the more deserving Ben Simmons.
As a Philly homer, my words hold no weight. I will always think our player or our team deserves recognition for whatever it may be. Joel for MVP, Ben for DPOY, or the entire team making an NBA Finals run. I would jump off a bridge if Sam Hinkie told me to because I would assume he already calculated the risk. I think Markelle Fultz motorcycle accident theory needs to be investigated by Mare of the Easttown Police Department. I have six different Allen Iverson jerseys in six different colors.
I am not the one who should be telling you Ben Simmons is more deserving of this award.
But I also am a huge basketball fanatic, an enthusiastic follower of the game since my birth and have spent countless hours not only watching but studying its history. So, let’s attack the DPOY case from that angle instead.
You can take Ben Simmons out the equation and say its Draymond Green instead for the sake of the argument. In a world where NBA teams are constantly drafting players based on positional versatility, whether it be guarding or playing multiple positions, we just gave the DPOY to a rim protecting center. Why? It’s not 1986 anymore.
The game has evolved and at the forefront of it was the Golden State Warriors dynasty. The value of the three point shot has never been higher. That’s why the Rockets assembled their team the way they did (they ironically missed 27 straight three pointers in a Game 7). And it’s not just guards who can shoot from deep now, big men needing to stretch their game out from the paint has gone from a bonus to a requirement.
With the offensive three ball era evolution, the style of defense has changed too. Every team now needs defenders who are able to stay in front of guards who are going to create three pointers for themselves or others. Chase shooters off the three point line, keep dynamic guards out of the paint, and bonus points if you can stop multiple positions from doing those things. Rim protection was a valued asset when it was a “back to the basket league” with an emphasis on post-ups for offenses who ran in a traditional sense with a power forward and a center. That’s not the NBA in 2021.
What also is bothersome about Gobert’s fake case for DPOY is the leaps and bounds his supporters have taken to prop of his case for the award. We have now introduced these advanced, advanced metrics to quantify a players worth on defense. VORP, RAPTOR, LEBRON. Are we listening to ourselves?! Do you know how insane it sounds to justify a players worth based on their VORP rating. Are kids at high school lunch tables using the RAPTOR metric to state their case during arguments for their favorite players? Statistics have a place in basketball, and in sports. But these specific advanced metrics were created for nerds who never played the game and needed an avenue into the sport. Let’s get back to using the most tried and true method there is: the eye test. Because basketball is a beautiful game and the eye test rarely fails you while you’re watching it.
Ben Simmons played some brilliant defense on Donovan Mitchell yesterday.
A quick look at Simmons' defense in overtime: pic.twitter.com/DlVCVaAPmG
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) March 4, 2021
To bring it back to a campaign speech for Simmons, it is infuriating to see a league constantly seek out portionless basketball players as gold. Their ability to guard every position on the floor is perfect for where the game of basketball is at today. In Ben Simmons, you may have the league’s most versatile defender with the likes of Draymond Green and Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard. He is a basketball chameleon who can cover the influx of tremendous guard talent the league has, while doubling as a efficiently rebounding small-ball 5. his skill set is the way the league is trending defensively.
And they gave the Defensive Player of the Year to rim protecting center thanks to VORP.
— A (@aidan_34_powers) June 10, 2021