From the beginning of the season, the Sixers' primary focus has been on the defensive end. Doc Rivers said he wanted to have the league's top defense, and while the Sixers fell just short of first place in defensive rating, some might argue they were the best defensive team in the NBA this season.
When having players like Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Matisse Thybulle, it's clear your team will be among the best in terms of defense. Embiid is one of the league's top defensive centers, while Simmons and Thybulle have cemented themselves as one of the top defensive pairings in the league.
Simmons was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, but those honors ended up going to Jazz center Rudy Gobert. While Simmons was unable to walk away with the trophy, he has still received recognition for his elite work on the defensive end.
The NBA announced its All-Defense teams Monday night, and the Sixers have a strong presence. Simmons finds himself with first-team honors, while Thybulle and Embiid were named to the second-team.
Simmons making the first team is not surprising to anyone. Over the past two seasons, he has established himself as one of the league's most versatile and top defenders. Very few players can defend a wide range of positions and players to the level of Simmons.
Where Thybulle was going to land was a small topic of discussion towards the end of the regular season. Even though he only played 20 minutes per game, he established himself as an elite perimeter defender. Despite having role player minutes, it did not stop Thybulle from averaging over a block and two steals per game.
Embiid gets all his recognition for his dominance on the offensive end but wreaks havoc on defense. He has done a phenomenal job as the anchor of the Sixers' defense.
All three players are well known for priding themselves on the defensive end of the floor. Simmons, Thybulle, and Embiid are sure to find themselves on All-Defense teams for years to come. The trio might even account for multiple DPOY trophies at some point down the road.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.