After losing Game 1 128-124, Philadelphia 76ers defensive stalwart Ben Simmons admitted that he would welcome the challenge of defending Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Trae Young in Game 2 of their second-round series on Tuesday.
Simmons said the following, via The Athletic's Derek Bodner:
Ben Simmons, whether he expects the defensive assignments to change for Game 2, where he would defend Trae Young more: "I probably would do that. I mean, I want to. If the refs aren't gonna call so many fouls and I can be physical and be 6'10", then I'll be 6'10". But we'll see."— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) June 6, 2021
Young notched a team-high 35 points and 10 assists against the Sixers in the series-opener on Sunday. He scored 25 of those in the first two quarters.
Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers opted to use Danny Green as the primary defender on Young to start the game, but that didn't work out so well. The 76ers eventually found some success against the Hawks star after throwing several different defenders at him over the course of the game.
It would make sense for Simmons, who is in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, to guard Young in Game 2, considering his ability to lock down the perimeter with aggression and physicality.
Young has been incredible throughout the playoffs, averaging 30.2 points, 9.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in six games while shooting 44.8% from the field and 34.6% from deep.
Quite clearly, it'll be difficult for anyone to stop Young, but Simmons should be able to slow him down somewhat if the Sixers show the aggression they did toward the end of Sunday's contest throughout Game 2.