Ben Simmons was named a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, but the award went to Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert for the third time in his career. “I’ve been his teammate as well and he’s he’s a great defender. One of the best in the league and he’s Defensive Player of the Year this year so it is what it is.”
While winning Defensive Player of the Year would have been nice for Simmons, just as winning MVP would have been for Embiid, the Sixers still have a chance at a championship. “Our goal is to win a championship and I think Ben will be excited to try to win a championship instead of a Defensive Player of the Year. It’s great to get a self-accomplishment award, but I know Ben and I know the competitor he is. What’s more important to him is that championship.”
The good news for both Simmons and Embiid is that they are both younger players.
“With their youth and growth that we anticipate, I do think in the future in the near future, Ben will be Defensive Player of the Year and Joel will be MVP,” Rivers added.