Being a thief (on the basketball court) is not so bad if you are Ben Simmons.
This past season the 24-year old led the league with 2.1 steals per game while also being named to the All-Defensive First Team. Simmons’ 119 steals were second to only Houston’s James Harden.
His performance on the defensive side of the ball from a season ago has made him the favorite, per NBC Sports betting partner PointsBet, to be the 2020-21 NBA steals leader with odds of +225 ($10 bet to win $22.25). Right behind him is Golden State’s Stephen Curry at +400. Curry, who led the league in steals back in 2015-16, played only five games last season because of a broken hand.
Simmons also has the sixth-best odds (+1600: $10 bet to win $160) to win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Right in front of him is his teammate Joel Embiid at +1000 ($10 bet to win $100). The Lakers’ Anthony Davis is the frontrunner at +250.
Both Simmons and Embiid are further down the list when it comes to being named the league’s MVP. Embiid has the better odds of +3300 ($10 bet to win $330), while Simmons is set at +7000 ($10 bet to win $700). This may come as a surprise to some, but the player atop the MVP odds is not named Giannis Antetokounmpo, Curry, LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Instead, that distinction currently goes to Dallas’ Luka Doncic (+380).
If Embiid and Simmons are going to have success this season, then a lot of that progress will likely be thanks to new head coach Doc Rivers. Might a Coach of the Year award be in his future this summer? The oddsmakers seem to believe in Rivers as he owns the third-best odds (+1400: $10 bet to win $140), trailing only Boston’s Brad Stevens (+900) and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (+1200).
The last Sixers coach to win Coach of the Year honors was Larry Brown during the 2000-01 season, when he led the team to the NBA Finals. If Rivers is named Coach of the Year and ends the Sixers’ Finals appearance drought, that wouldn’t be his only connection to Brown. Rivers played for the Hall of Fame coach during the 1991-92 season with the Clippers.
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