Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kristpas Porzingis. Luka Doncic. Nikola Jokic. Marc Gasol. According to NBA.com’s survey of 30 GMs, all of those players are better than Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
At least that’s what we can presume from how the GMs responded to the question, “Who is the best international player in the NBA?” Maybe everyone just forgot Embiid is from Cameroon and Simmons is from Australia … it seems hard to believe that a rookie in Doncic, albeit one with a ton of talent, would be seen as superior to a member of the All-NBA second team last season in Embiid and the reigning Rookie of the Year in Simmons.
There’s also another couple puzzling snubs for Embiid — he received a grand total of zero votes for best interior defender in the NBA. Rudy Gobert got the most votes, with 80 percent. You can understand why the Defensive Player of the Year would top the list. But Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan all got votes, while Embiid did not.
Just to refresh your memory, Embiid finished second for Defensive Player of the Year. And if we’re talking specifically about interior defense, opponents shot just 50.1 percent on field goal attempts from six feet and in against Embiid last season. That’s the best of any player who appeared in at least 50 games and defended at least three interior field goal attempts per game.
Oh, and Embiid, again, a first team All-NBA defender, was left off the list for best overall defensive player.
It wasn’t all snubs for the Sixers, though. Simmons (seven percent) and Markelle Fultz both received votes for the player most likely to have a breakout season. JJ Redick finished second (23 percent) for best player at moving without the ball. And Embiid slotted in second for best center in the NBA (33 percent), just behind Davis (40 percent).
As a team, the Sixers got the third-most votes for most fun to watch, tied with the Houston Rockets and behind the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.
The Sixers received the highest number of votes for most promising young core in the NBA (47 percent), ahead of the Celtics (33 percent). However, Boston and the Toronto Raptors were ranked ahead of the Sixers in the Eastern Conference, with the Celtics picked as the best team in the East by 90 percent of GMs.
See the full survey results here.