All year long Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons made it clear he was working to become the NBA's best defensive player. Unfortunately, the NBA's 2020 Defensive Player of the Year voting did not favor Simmons as much as many initially believed.
All year long, Simmons was in the conversation for the award. After standing out defensively last season -- especially in the playoffs -- Simmons' defensive progress in 2019-2020 was surely something to look forward to.
Throughout the season, as expected, Simmons was a terror on the defensive side of the ball. Before going down with a season-threatening injury back in February, Simmons led the NBA in total steals and steals-per-game. By the end of the regular season, Simmons finished just behind James Harden (second overall) in total steals with 119.
Despite going down with an injury a month before the NBA's suspension back in March, it seemed Simmons still had a good chance to be considered for Defensive Player of the Year. A few weeks back, however, the top three finalists were listed, and Simmons' name was excluded. Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert, Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis were announced as finalists.
Now that the results are officially in, it's confirmed that last year's MVP, Antetokounmpo, is the winner by a significant margin of votes. Meanwhile, Simmons placed behind Gobert with the fourth-most amount of votes (32 points). While it seemed Simmons was a strong candidate to win DPOY potentially, he finished with just a single first-place vote. Meanwhile, he had five votes for second place, with 12 votes for third.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_