The NBA announced today that Ben Simmons was named to the 2019-20 NBA All-Defensive First Team. It’s the first such honor of Simmons’ career. He is the seventh 76er in franchise history to earn All-Defensive First Team honors, joining Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers Dikembe Mutombo (2000-01), Maurice Cheeks (four times), Bobby Jones (six times), Moses Malone (1982-83), as well as Robert Covington (2017-18) and Caldwell Jones (two times).
Simmons received 88 First Team votes and nine Second Team votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters, giving him a total of 185 points, the third-highest total of any player selected to an All-Defensive team.
In his third NBA season, the former No. 1 overall pick led the league with an average of 2.1 steals per game, the best mark by a 76er since 2014. Simmons was tied for the league lead with Defensive Player of the Year finalist Anthony Davis with an average of 1.7 loose balls recovered per game, while he joined Toronto’s Fred VanVleet and New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday as the only three NBA players to post at least 3.9 deflections per contest.
Simmons was one of only six players league-wide to post at least five steals in a game three or more times, and the sole player to notch multiple seven-steal games, tying the NBA single-game season high.
In a Jan. 20 win at Brooklyn, Simmons matched his career high with 34 points, while adding 12 rebounds, 12 assists five steals and two blocks, becoming the first 76er with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals since George McGinnis did so on Feb. 8, 1976 against the Buffalo Braves.
Selected to the NBA All-Star Game for the second straight season, Simmons averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists (sixth in the NBA), joining Dallas’ Luka Dončić and the Lakers’ LeBron James as the only three players in the league to do so. He notched six triple-doubles on the season, which led the Eastern Conference and ranked fifth in the NBA.
The 2019-20 season marks the third straight season in which at least one 76er has been named to an All-Defensive team (Joel Embiid, Second Team 2018-19 and 2017-18; Covington, First Team 2017-18). Joining Simmons on the NBA All-Defensive First Team are Boston’s Marcus Smart, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis and Utah’s Rudy Gobert. The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley and Kawhi Leonard, Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez and Miami’s Bam Adebayo.