Kinker has returned from England/Scotland/Ireland/Wales, and while all of those countries were fantastic, nothing compares to the blue collar, lunch-pail carrying, workmanlike city of Philadelphia.
Anyway, Ben Simmons won Rookie of the Year last night. Good for him; he deserved it. The voting wasn’t even close, which surprised me. I thought for sure Donovan Mitchell would have received more first place nods, but I was wrong.
Joel Embiid finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, which I do think is fair. Rudy Gobert was fantastic this season, even if he did miss a significant chunk of time through injury. Did he feed on tanking teams during the second half of the year? Maybe, but I think the same could be said of Embiid when the Sixers were trouncing mediocre Eastern Conference squads before he suffered the facial fracture in March. Joel ended up playing 63 games while Gobert featured in 56, so the difference was ultimately negligible, in my mind. Utah was a juggernaut when Gobert returned, going 30-7 over a stretch that began in January and carried into April. The Sixers, of course, won 16 straight to finish the year, a run that included Embiid for about half of that time.
A quick look at the per-36 numbers for each player:
Gobert had better block and steal numbers while committing fewer fouls.
Advanced numbers show he also out-performed Joel in defensive box plus/minus and defensive win shares: