The NBA award debates started pretty early this season, and throughout the entire year, two Philadelphia 76ers players have been heavily involved. For MVP, Sixers center Joel Embiid's name was thrown around in the mix with the likings of LeBron James and Nikola Jokic throughout the year.

For 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons, it seemed for a while he was in a two-man race for the Defensive Player of the Year award alongside Rudy Gobert. However, Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo has something to say about that.

Following Miami's win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, Adebayo did a quick postgame interview with the TNT crew. When Heat legend Dwyane Wade asked about Adebayo's hair, the standout center responded as such.

"Aye man, it's getting me Defensive Player of the Year. . . So, yeah," Adebayo stated confidently. "Let's talk about that. I do everything on defense, and I'm gonna walk out on that one," he concluded.

Adebayo believes his versatility on the defensive side of the ball should allow him to solidify himself as the best defender in the league. Ben Simmons, who's been extremely vocal about his DPOY stance, believes the same about himself. 

"I take pride in guarding the best player on the floor every night," Simmons said in February. "It's not a one-off thing. If you watch me, I'm typically guarding the best player. I love the fact that my teammates can look at me and tell me, 'You got to go out and lock this guy up.' There are nights that guys go off, and that's gonna happen, but most of the time, I feel like I'm doing a good job and making the right plays. You know, I feel like I'm the best defender in the NBA." 

Simmons' teammate Joel Embiid and his head coach Doc Rivers, have both mentioned on numerous occasions that their guy should come away with the award. However, Rudy Gobert and Bam Adebayo surely won't make it easy for voters to choose.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_ & Instagram: @JGrassoNBA.

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