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Sixers center Joel Embiid misses out on Defensive Player of the Year

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Sixers center Joel Embiid misses out on Defensive Player of the Year

Joel Embiid will likely continue to say he’s the best defensive player in the league. However, he’ll have to wait another season for the trophy to back it up.

Embiid failed to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year at the league’s annual awards show on Monday night.  Jazz center Rudy Gobert took home the hardware over Embiid and Pelicans star big man Anthony Davis.

Embiid placed second in the voting. He garnered two of 101 possible first-place votes, 44 second-place votes and 21 third-place votes for a total of 163 points. That was well behind Gobert's 466 total points.

Embiid finished in the NBA’s top 10 in blocks (tied for fifth with 1.8 a game) and defensive rebounds (sixth with 8.7 per night). He also boasted a 99.7 defensive rating as the Sixers allowed roughly four fewer points with Embiid on the court than off.

“… I should be the Defensive Player of the Year because I feel like all year long we’ve done it,” Embiid said in April. “My teammates have helped me a lot and I’m in this situation because of them. I give them a lot of credit. But I still feel like I’ve been the best defensive player in the league this year. Last year, I kind of had the knock on me of not playing a lot of games, but this year I’ve played a lot of games, so I don’t know what excuse they’re going to find next.”

However, both Gobert and Davis put together stellar defensive seasons and were each named to the league’s All-Defensive first team. Embiid made the second team, which should have served as a precursor for the DPOY voting.

The big fella will now have to wait another season for his crack to become the first Sixer to win Defensive Player of the Year since Dikembe Mutombo in 2000-01.

Still, the night wasn't a complete loss for Embiid. He was unveiled as the cover athlete for NBA LIVE 19 The ONE Edition video game.


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Sixers' Ben Simmons win NBA's Rookie of the Year award

Sixers' Ben Simmons win NBA's Rookie of the Year award

The debate can finally be put to rest. Ben Simmons is a rookie, and he has the hardware to prove it.

Simmons was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year during the league’s annual awards show on Monday night. Simmons beat out Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Boston’s Jayson Tatum for the award.

“Wow. I’d like to thank my family to start off with. Family, friends, you know I wouldn’t be here without them,” Simmons said. “My teammates, of course, and my great coach. The city of Philadelphia for really embracing me and my family. Thank you.”

Simmons became the third Sixer to ever to receive the honor after Michael Carter-Williams (2013-14) and Allen Iverson (1996-97). He also became the first Australian to win the award in what turned out to be a landslide. Simmons received 90 of 101 first-place votes while Mitchell took the other 11. Simmons added 10 second-place votes and one third-place vote for 481 total points. That was far and beyond Mitchell's 323 total points and Tatum's 101.

Much to the chagrin of Jazz fans everywhere.

After sitting out last season with a broken foot, Simmons took the league by storm in 2017-18. The phenom averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals during the regular season. He also racked up 12 triple-doubles, second only to Oscar Robertson for a player in his rookie season.

“I am proud of the fact that two of the past five Rookies of the Year have come from our program’s development efforts, which are the bloodline of our culture,” Sixers head coach and interim general manager Brett Brown said in a statement. “Ben Simmons is so much an example of this fact. He had been a college four-man and transitioned into the NBA as a point guard; that, in itself, is an amazing story. This positional change and added responsibility only confirms how exciting his future is as a multi-dimensional player. His character and his talents will be a building block of our championship quest for many, many years. I am so proud to share in his award and so proud of his teammates for also helping him achieve this recognition.”

Simmons’ production was never in question throughout the season, but his standing as a rookie was a hot topic of debate. 

Pundits asked whether Simmons should be considered a rookie since he had the benefit of working and learning in the Sixers’ program during his lost 2016-17 season. 

Even Mitchell, who garnered the NBA players’ association Leader of the New School Award for top rookie, got in on the act. He openly said Simmons shouldn’t be considered a rookie and even went so far as wearing a hoodie with the definition of the word written across the chest (the definition actually helped Simmons’ case, stating it referenced someone “playing” in their first season).

Mitchell doubled down on that sentiment with his choice of vehicle for the NBA awards show.

To his credit, Simmons never let the noise get to him. The point guard simply went about his business to help the Sixers post a 24-win increase from a season ago and reach the playoffs for the first time in six season.

“If his argument is that I’m not a rookie, if that’s the only argument he has, I’m in pretty good shape,” Simmons said in April. “There’s a rule in the NBA for a reason. I’m not going to wear a sweatshirt tomorrow though.”

No need. Simmons can just glance at his trophy case now for validation.

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Another ironic and bad jab at Ben Simmons

Another ironic and bad jab at Ben Simmons

It looks like there's another Jazz player that doesn't know the definition of rookie or how the NBA works.

Enter Ricky Rubio.

Remember the silly (and flawed) sweatshirt Donovan Mitchell rocked last month in an attempt to taint Ben Simmons' Rookie of the Year candidacy?

If you need a refresher, click here.

Or you can just look at Rubio's attire for Game 2 Wednesday of the Jazz-Rockets series. The injured guard wore the exact same sweatshirt in support of Mitchell.

Maybe the sweatshirts are making rounds in the Jazz's locker room.

If so, we know Simmons won't give one darn about it.

All season, he's let his play do the talking.

"If his argument is I'm not a rookie, if that's the only argument he has, I'm in pretty good shape then," Simmons said on April 10 when he was made aware of Mitchell's ploy. "There's a rule in the NBA for a reason. I'm not going to wear a sweatshirt tomorrow, though."

And the funniest thing of all here? 

Rubio didn't play his rookie season until 2011-12. He was drafted in 2009.

The two years in between? He played professionally overseas.