It's unclear what is in the water in Philadelphia these days, but whatever it is, it's proven that it isn't good for the 76ers. For the second time in a week, a 76er has made his claim at the Defensive Player of the Year Award. First, a pitch by Ben Simmons on 'The Jump', and now, the outspoken Joel Embiid has decided to get in on vying for the award. Embiid made the claim on "The Lowe Post" Podcast with NBA Insider Zach Lowe.
Two-days ago, I wrote about the difference statistically between Simmons and the current frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, Rudy Gobert. You can see that comparison linked here, and spoiler, it isn't even close.
So lets speak factually to give insight to Gobert's non-believers.
Welcome to: Defensive Player of the Year Debate: Gobert vs Embiid Edition.
Gobert: Defensive Rebounds: 10, Total Rebounds: 13.4, Steals: 0.5, and Blocks: 2.8.
Embiid: Defensive Rebounds: 8.9, Total Rebounds: 11, Steals: 1, and Blocks: 1.5.
We'll give it to him, at least Embiid is a little bit closer statistically than Simmons was. Gobert still reigns supreme on the defensive side of the ball though, winning every basic defensive statistic with the exception of steals.
Lets go through the advanced statistics for those who are still questioning the Gobert and Embiid debate.
Gobert: Defensive Rating: 102.1, Defensive Rebound Percentage: 28.2%, Steal Percentage: 13.5%, Block Percentage: 74.6%, Opponents Second Chance Points: 7.1, Defensive Win Shares: 0.168.
Embiid: Defensive Rating: 105, Defensive Rebound Percentage: 25.8%, Steal Percentage: 17%, Block Percentage: 37.4%, Opponents Second Chance Points: 7.7, Defensive Win Shares: 0.146.
Lets also add something that wasn't in the original Gobert vs Simmons comparison. The defensive RAPTOR metric. Gobert is ranked number one in the NBA for Defensive RAPTOR with a 7.7. Neither Simmons or Embiid are even in the top five. If you want to use the 'WAR' metric versus the defensive RAPTOR, be my guest. Gobert (8.9) ranks number two in the NBA while Embiid falls at number seven (7.3), and Simmons is in sixty-first place (3.4).
The only statistics that Embiid has the edge on is 'Steal Percentage' where he leads Gobert by 3.5% and 'Opponents Second Chance Points', where he leads Gobert by 0.6. Outside of that, Gobert leads Embiid in every advanced defensive statistical category.
If you want to look at team defensive statistics to try and give Philly the edge, I'll help you out. The Jazz are the number one team in the NBA and the 76ers are number four. Here are the stats being used if you feel so inclined to check me.
According to Vegas Insider, Gobert is the favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award (-335, 14/37), Simmons is in second place (+230, 23/10), and Embiid is in fifth place (+6,000, 60/1).
Should Embiid be included in the MVP talks? Absolutely. He's a great player that deserves to be talked about. The Defensive Player of the Year Award though? Nope. Once again, Simmons and Embiid have both tried to make their pitches, but there is only one player deserving of this award, and his name is Rudy Gobert.
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