NBA Awards 76ers players should win

Jackson McCrae '23

After a 72-game regular season, and the first round of the playoffs already started, it’s time for the NBA voters to choose who should receive the NBA awards. The one-seeded Philadelphia 76ers have candidates for multiple awards and are favorites to win a few. With the award show fast approaching, it’s going to be interesting to see what NBA voters are thinking, and who they gave their votes to.

Joel Embiid: MVP, All-NBA 1st Team, All-Defense 2nd Team

Joel Embiid has been nothing short of dominant this year… not only the most dominant center in the league, but the most dominant player in the league. He was a man on a mission, averaging 28.5 PPG (4th in the league), 10.6 RPG (12th in the league), 1.4 BPG (15th in the league), 9.2 FTM (1st in the league), and had a +/- of 7.9 (8th in the league). Those are the numbers of an NBA MVP.

Some are saying Embiid shouldn’t be considered because he missed so much time due to injury. Many of these same people are calling for Lamelo Ball to be named Rookie of the Year, despite having missed the same amount of time as Embiid, so that argument is illogical.

Joel Embiid is a near lock for All-NBA 1st Team, as he can fill either a center or a forward position slot, so there is room for both him and Nikola Jokic (his main MVP competition). All-Defense 2nd Team is going to be tough for Embiid to make because voters are going to be hesitant to give three 76ers All-Defense Team spots (more on that later). However, Embiid’s defensive impact cannot be overstated, and the team struggles to protect the rim when he isn’t in the game.

Ben Simmons: Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defense First Team

Ben Simmons is so dominant defensively, 76ers fans even named a fake prison after him: The Benitentiary. While the name is clever and funny, it’s also a great metaphor for what Ben Simmons does on a nightly basis: lock people up and not let them up until the final horn sounds.

Simmons has put up 1.6 SPG (5th in the league), with a Defensive Rating of 106.1 (2nd in the league). However, his defensive impact goes beyond what numbers can show. He is constantly tasked with taking on the other team’s best players and always rises to the task.

The award voters have always had an infatuation with interior defenders like Rudy Gobert – Simmons’ main competition for the award. Simmons is primarily a perimeter defender, so that is already one strike against him. While his DPOY status is uncertain, he is a definite All-Defense First Team member, and there is no doubt he will named to the All-Defense First Team when the roster is announced.

Matisse Thybulle: All-Defense First Team

While he doesn’t have a prison named after him, Thybulle has been every bit as disruptive as Simmons, and even more so in some respects defensively. The only reason Thybulle isn’t in DPOY talks with Simmons is because of his lack of playing time. However, what he has done in that playing time is ridiculous, and incomparable to any other player. Playing 498 minutes less than the total steals leader (TJ McConnell), Thybulle is fourth in total steals with 105. If Thybulle played the same number of minutes as McConnell, Thybulle would have been on pace for 145 steals, while McConnell would have only had 128. Thybulle was also tied for fifth in SPG with 1.6. Thybulle only played 20 minutes per game and is the only player in the top 115 NBA players with 20 or less minutes played. The only reason Thybulle won’t make All-Defense First Team is because voters won’t want to have two Sixers on the first team

Daryl Morey: Executive of the Year

While former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie began The Process, we can thank Daryl Morey for getting it to where it is today. Morey made a number of flat out genius moves this year, including trading Al Horford for Danny Green and Josh Richardson for Seth Curry, giving the 76ers the shooters they needed. He also made a great trade at the deadline, bringing in George Hill for Tony Bradley. Morey also had a great draft, managing to snag Tyrese Maxey at 21, which is lower then anyone expected him to fall, but also finding gems in the second round, like Isaiah Joe, who has shown promise in limited playing time, and Paul Reed, who won the G-League MVP and Rookie of the Year. Morey has done a great job assembling this Sixers teams and is a large part of why they hold the one-seed this year.