Sixers Star a Top Pick to Win NBA DPOY per Sportsbook

Ben Simmons Sixers Gordon Hayward

Getty Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers battles for the ball with the Charlotte Hornets' Gordon Hayward.

After all the talk of Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons being the frontrunner for the 2021 NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophy at midseason, the voting at year’s end wasn’t particularly close. Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert took home the hardware by capturing 84 first-place votes and 464 total points.

Simmons was a distant second with 15 and 287, respectively.

Nevertheless, the three-time All-Star had an incredible defensive season, establishing himself as the Association’s premiere lockdown specialist on the perimeter. And oddsmakers are clearly expecting another show-out defensive effort in 2021-22.

As relayed by NBA Central via Twitter, BetOnline.ag has released its odds for the 2022 DPOY honoree. Unsurprisingly, Simmons is a top pick to capture the trophy. However, he isn’t the top pick. That distinction went to a certain three-time DPOY winner.

Simmons wasn’t the only Sixer to show up on the list, though.


Gobert Gets Top Odds, Simmons Comes in Second


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As it stands, Gobert is the odds-on favorite to repeat as DPOY, coming in at +300 (or 3-to-1). However, Simmons is currently nipping at his heels in the sportsbook’s offering at +400.

For his part, Joel Embiid was also a top-five pick at +900. After breaking out last season and sneaking onto the All-Defensive Second Team, Matisse Thybulle rounded out the top 10 at +2000.

BetOnline.ag’s complete updated odds (as of this writing) for DPOY shake out as follows:

  • Rudy Gobert: +300
  • Ben Simmons: +400
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo: +750
  • Anthony Davis: +800
  • Joel Embiid: +900
  • Draymond Green: +1200
  • Bam Adebayo: +1400
  • Myles Turner: +1600
  • Jrue Holiday: +1800
  • Matisse Thybulle: +2000

Really, there aren’t many surprises to be found here. After finishing sixth overall in the NBA DPOY voting last season, Atlanta Hawks big man Clint Capela’s omission from the top 10 is probably the most glaring. He is currently tied for the twelfth-best odds with a number of other players at +4000.

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Revisiting Simmons’ Incredible Defensive Campaign

As a whole, the Sixers were on another level defensively last season, limiting opponents to just 107.0 points scored per 100 possessions. That was the second-best mark league-wide. Meanwhile, they led the league in steals (9.1 per game), were second in blocks (6.2) and allowed the fourth-fewest second-chance points in the Association (11.6).

And while Embiid’s efforts in the paint were a key component to that success, Simmons may have been the tip of the spear defensively.

Last season, opponents connected on field goal attempts at a rate that was 5% lower than their norms when Simmons was the closest defender. He also boasted a top-notch defensive rating of 106.0 and was one of just 23 players at his position to post a positive defensive real plus/minus mark.

The latter number is big because, as a point guard, Simmons is often tasked with staying in front of the most skilled penetrators in the game. But Simmons’ defensive abilities go well beyond stopping opposing floor generals. He’s one of just a handful of players in the NBA who can capably guard five positions.

Despite being tasked with stopping players of all shapes, sizes and skill sets, Simmons was able to get his hands on the ball at an incredible rate. He was tied with Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler for fourth league-wide in deflections per game at 3.6.

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