Rudy Gobert may be the reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year, but that still is not enough to win over Ben Simmons.
The Philadelphia 76ers star was streaming a “Call of Duty” video game session on Twitch this week when the discussion turned to who he thinks are the top five defenders in the league. While offering his list, Simmons made a point of saying that the Utah Jazz center Gobert did not make the cut.
Ben Simmons lists Anthony Davis as the best defender in the NBA; along with his list of top 5 defenders pic.twitter.com/5tW7rEAcnz
— Ball Realm (@TheBallRealm) March 20, 2020
“I look at AD [Anthony Davis], and I think he’s a better defender than Gobert because he can defend guards at times,” he said. “I didn’t say Rudy [for my list] … I play ball. I’m looking at guys that can defend 1 through 5, man.”
Simmons eventually clarified that his list consisted of Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Marcus Smart and Sixers teammate Joel Embiid.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) March 19, 2020
While the 7-foot-1 Gobert might not have the mobility to be the NBA’s best one-on-one defender, he could very well be the best team defender in the league. His elite rim protection provides a stout back line of defense for his teammates and can greatly alter the game plan of an entire opposing offense.
Simmons’ list seemed to be exclusively those currently in the East and/or those he has faced in the playoffs in the East. The former No. 1 pick’s slight history with the Jazz probably shouldn’t be discounted either.
H/T Deseret News