With the 2020-21 regular season on the books, now is the time to start crumbling and predicting some of the season’s honors. The Philadelphia 76ers finished as the No.1 seed in the East, so they’ll get some love for the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams.
They are led by star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons who are in the conversation to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Embiid also participates in MVP conversations. The Sixers succeeded thanks to the play of their talented duo.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe set up his three All-NBA teams and its two All-Defensive teams and he gave the Sixers some love. Lowe has Embiid in the All-NBA Second Team, which is a bit of a surprise considering the season he’s had on the floor. He had Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in the All-NBA first team.
Lowe on the decision:
The one missing, of course, is Embiid, and it’s fair to wonder why I (and many voters) won’t have the same leeway to put Embiid in this forward position.
I’ve always tried to stay at least semi-realistic with positions as long as the league uses position designations. Embiid is a pure center.
As for his predictions for the All-Defensive teams, Simmons is part of Lowe’s first All-Defensive team while Embiid, along with Matisse Thybulle, is part of the All-Defensive second team. Simmons is joined by Draymond Green and Rudy Gobert in the First Team, and they are three must-haves for Lowe:
Gobert, Green and Simmons went 1-2-3 in my defensive player of the year round, so they were first-team locks.
As for Embiid, Lowe has him in the second team due to the number of games he has missed this season. He also believes it will hamper his candidacy for Defensive Player of the Year:
A fully engaged Embiid is perhaps the most intimidating and impactful defender in the game. Embiid is stronger than Gobert at post, a bit more agile in space.
With a full minute allotment, Embiid would have been right there for Defensive Player of the Year.
As for Thybulle, despite being just a bench player and averaging only 20 minutes per game, he has a huge impact on defense. He averages 2.9 steals and 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes as he uses his excellent skills to his advantage.
Lowe on Thybulle:
He is perhaps the best perimeter defender in the world. He’s one of the best perimeter defenders I’ve ever seen. Thybulle is a kind of ghost. He does not move in the normal way. He’s in one place, then suddenly, without warning, he’s somewhere else 15 feet away – not enough time has passed for a human to cross 15 feet. Thybulle does not move. He Apparates.
It averages five blocks combined and flies every 36 minutes, an absolutely absurd rate. It is downright destructive to your emotional well-being and your physical safety. Having Thybulle on the ground is like playing with 5½ defenders.
The Sixers should feature prominently for seasonal awards as Embiid, Simmons and Thybulle all have a serious case to name in one of these teams.
This post originally appeared on Sixers wire! follow us on Facebook!