Ranking the likeliest players to win end-of-year awards this season

Gobert has a powerful rival within the Defensive Participant of the Yr race this season in Simmons, because the versatile Philadelphia 76ers guard has a really sturdy case in his personal proper to take house the award.

The most recent betting odds on this battle, per OddsShark, are extraordinarily shut, with Gobert a -200 favourite and Simmons proper behind him at +200, indicating the race is near a choose ’em proper now, which means it’s nearly a 50/50 shot for both man to win it.

Aiding Simmons’ case is the truth that he’s a way more versatile and multi-positional defender than Gobert, because the Australian guard can legitimately cowl each opposing place on the court docket at a excessive degree, one thing the Jazz middle merely can not match.

Opposing groups often discover offensive success in opposition to Utah by forcing Gobert to defend perimeter-oriented massive males who pull him away from the rim and open up the lane for his or her ball-handlers and slashers. It’s a lot more durable for groups to scheme round Simmons’ defensive prowess, nonetheless, as even setting picks on him is troublesome as a result of his measurement and power and even when they do pressure him to modify, Simmons is a monster at choosing pockets and leaping passing lanes.

Moreover, Simmons’ Sixers even have a better defensive ranking than the Jazz this yr, with Philadelphia giving up 106.6 factors per 100 possessions in 2020-21 (the second-best mark within the NBA) to Utah’s 107.6 mark.

We additionally must issue Joel Embiid in right here, although, as Embiid is an All-Defensive Staff-caliber participant who helps Philadelphia on the point-preventing finish of the ground rather more than any of Gobert’s teammates do for him.

Even so, Simmons averages 1.6 steals per recreation this season (the No. 9 mark within the league) whereas rating third in Defensive Win Shares (2.8), ninth in Defensive Field Plus/Minus (1.8) and twelfth in steal charge (2.3 %). Simmons can also be one among simply two guards within the Prime 15 in Defensive Win Shares this yr, proving simply how distinctive his affect on that finish of the ground is.

Gobert would be the slight favourite for Defensive Participant of the Yr proper now, however Simmons is true there with him. That is one other race that ought to come all the way down to the wire.

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