Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons has a lot of confidence in his defensive abilities. After limiting Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard on Wednesday, Simmons told reporters he's "the best defender in the NBA."
Lillard still managed to score 30 points, but Simmons made it hard. Lillard went just 6 of 21 from the field. Nearly half of his points came at the free-throw line, where Lillard hit 14 of 15 attempts. Simmons was responsible for only three of the 11 fouls on Lillard.
When asked about going up against the best scorers in the NBA, Simmons said he loves playing that role for the 76ers.
The relevant portion of the video begins at the 2:15 mark:
Simmons' full comment read:
"I take pride in guarding the best player on the floor every night. It's not a one-off thing. If you watch me, I'm typically guarding the best player, and typically the best players are guards or shooting guards, point guards, whatever it is. And I love that. I love the fact that my teammates can look at me and tell me, 'You gotta go out and lock this guy up.'
"There's nights that guys go off. That's going to happen. But most of the time, I feel like I'm doing a good job and making the right plays. I feel like I'm the best defender in the NBA."
Despite Simmons' best efforts, the 76ers lost Wednesday's contest 118-114.
Is Ben Simmons the best defender in the NBA?
At the very least, Simmons is among the best defensive players in the game. By defensive win shares, Simmons currently ranks seventh this season. By defensive rating, he ranks 12th. Simmons has consistently been in the top-20 in both stats throughout his NBA career.
That performance could earn Simmons his second straight appearance on the All-Defensive team. While Simmons made that team for the first time following the 2019-20 NBA season, that honor was overdue. As a rookie, Simmons ranked second in defensive win shares and ninth in defensive rating.
Even if you don't think Simmons is the best defender in the NBA right now, it's tough to argue against his defensive prowess. Simmons will almost certainly deserve another appearance on the All-Defensive team at the end of the 2020-21 NBA season.
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