‘Chameleon’- Doc Rivers Compares Ben Simmons to Chicago Bulls Legends Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman

Published 02/13/2021, 11:00 PM EST
Dec 23, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) dribbles up court against the Washington Wizards during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


Ben Simmons is one of the best prospects in the NBA right now. The fourth-year player is already a two-time all-star and has appearances on all-defensive teams.

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But his offensive game still needs help, as he is still lacking a reliable jumpshot. However, his defense is as solid as they come, and his coach Doc Rivers seems to agree.

Coach Rivers called Ben a ‘chameleon’ on defense, saying his defensive versatility is on par with Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman from the Chicago Bulls.

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“He is such a unique defender. Most of the great defenders guard their position, and they do a great job there. Ben is a chameleon. Ben guards literally 1 through 5, and we’re not scared to put him on 1 through 5 on needed possessions.”

Rivers elaborated, “Dennis Rodman is crazy in a defensive way, as a player, they’re completely different players, but Dennis would often guard 1 through 5. They would just throw him on whoever had it going, so I guess you can go that far back. Scottie Pippen is in that category as well so there’s very few people. I’m happy that people finally started to notice it. That’s nice to hear.”

Ben Simmons: Is he the best defender in the league?

Ben Simmons is unquestionably one of the best defenders in the league. However, to say that he is the best may be overkill. He is already fighting from under players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis in terms of perception as defenders.

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Now, his teammate Joel Embiid and Indiana Pacers big-man Myles Turner are also in the conversation.

Dec 27, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) during the second quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The comparison with the Chicago legends can be understandable but shouldn’t be taken in absolute terms. In terms of defensive versatility, Simmons is similar to Pippen and Rodman.

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However, that doesn’t mean he has the same skill-set. They are different players, but maybe, they share the same mold.

Simmons is coming off a pretty poor defensive performance against the Phoenix Suns as the 76ers fell to back-to-back losses, with Devin Booker scoring 36 points.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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