Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons might face a lot of scrutiny on social media for his lack of shooting, but his peers don't think of him any less. While Simmons certainly has flaws in his game, his teammates, head coach, and even his opponents make it clear that he's a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball.
Following the first-round series against the Washington Wizards, Simmons earned praise from Washington head coach Scott Brooks. As he played fantastic during the five-game series between the Sixers and the Wizards, Brooks had nothing but great things to say about the young guard during his final press conference.
"I don't know if he's gonna get Defensive Player of the Year, but I think he's Defensive Player of the Year," Brooks said following Washington's Game 5 loss against the Sixers on Wednesday night. "Not too many guys can guard one through five. He can guard one through five. There are some guys that can guard one position and do it well, but there is only a handful of guys that can do it like he does."
Now, as Simmons and the Sixers gear up to face the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs, Hawks head coach Nate McMillan becomes the latest head coach to describe the challenge of preparing to face a player of Simmons' caliber.
"He can play five positions and he does play five positions," McMillan explained on Saturday. "In their last game against Washington, he was guarding the center. He’s a really good defender. He’s big, he’s fast and athletic. They will move him around and put him in different positions so he can cover the ball or switch onto the ball. He’s a guy that can disrupt your offense with them putting him on your best player."
Considering Simmons' versatility, McMillan mentioned it's a challenge to gameplan for going against the three-time All-Star. When asked about what he expects from Simmons and the Sixers on Sunday, the head coach mentioned he believes Simmons will be all over the place on the floor.
"I expect to see them move him around on different guys," McMillan explained. "They’ve done it all season long and I anticipate they’ll do the same thing with him against us. Offensively, he creates a matchup problem because of his size. His ability to post-up smaller players and his ability to attack and penetrate against bigger players -- he’s a challenge and someone you certainly have to prepare for just as much as you have to prepare for Embiid and Harris.”
Ben Simmons and the Sixers are set to face the Hawks for Game 1 of the second-round on Sunday afternoon in South Philly. The game will tip off at 1:00 PM EST.