Ben Simmons a 'cat-like thief': Brown

Brett Brown is lobbying for Ben Simmons to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the Australian has the stats to back it up.

BEN SIMMONS.
BEN SIMMONS. Picture: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Brett Brown has described Ben Simmons as "a six-foot-10, cat-like, disruptive thief" worthy of the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year title.

The Philadelphia 76ers' coach has repeatedly showered his Australian All-Star with rave reviews as the team prepares to restart the NBA season inside the Walt Disney World "bubble" in Orlando, Florida.

Brown's lobbying also comes as a panel of sportswriters vote this week for the NBA's regular season awards including Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player and Sixth Man.

"He's a six-foot-10 (208cm), cat-like, disruptive thief," Brown told reporters on Tuesday.

"When I study him and his spirit in practice here in Orlando, there's not a watered-down version of our defence with him."

Simmons has the defensive statistics to back up Brown's praise.

The Australian leads the NBA in steals per game (2.1), total steals (115), is second in recovering loose balls per game (1.7) and third in total loose balls recovered (93).

Brown also noted Simmons only turned 24 on Monday, but was already a two-time NBA All-Star, signed a five-year $US169.65-million contract extension and has handled the responsibility of running the 76ers from the point guard position since entering the league.

"I don't think he gets the full praise that he should," Brown said.

"I think the Philadelphia 76ers are very fortunate to have him in our uniform for a very long time."

Brown has devised a new challenge for Simmons.

When the NBA season resumes from the COVID-19 hiatus Simmons will relinquish his point guard role and start at power forward.

Shake Milton will play point guard.

The 76ers' first practice game is on Friday (Saturday AEST) against the Memphis Grizzlies and the opening regular season game of the restart is against the Indiana Pacers on August 1.

Brown said the versatility Simmons has shown at such a young age, including adapting to the new power forward role, proved how special the Australian was.

"It is off the charts unique," Brown said.

"His better days are well and truly ahead of him."