Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is hoping that there won't be unfair whistles against Ben Simmons while guarding Atlanta Hawks star guard Trae Young. Rivers says Simmons plays a physical defense and he doesn't want his starting guard to be penalized for playing "a good physical defense."
"We like Ben on Trae," Rivers told reporters on a videoconference call on Monday, per ESPN. "Trae, he does a great job of drawing fouls. So, we got to be careful with that. Some, he gets fouled. Some, Trae sells them pretty well.
So, listen, if Ben is allowed to guard him, then, yeah, I'm all for it. "Aggression shouldn't be a foul. One of the things I've done, I've catalogued those plays all year. So it's not just Trae. In general, how many times Ben has been called for fouls for playing just physical, good defense.
Arms are in, he's physical, he's doing nothing [against the rules]. The offense is bumping just as much as the defense.
Rivers suggestes officials weren't really fair toward Simmons
"I have a list of games where, then the whistle blows.
It's almost, 'Wait a minute. That's defense.' So, it is what it is. And you always have to adjust to it. That's one thing I tell our guys. But you should never be penalized for playing straight, solid, legal, physical defense," Rivers said.
"I don't think you should ever be penalized for being a great defender. Being able to be at 6-10 and get over picks, when a guy is 6-10 or 6-9 and he gets over picks and he gets into the body, it looks physical. But it's legal.
And so you should never be penalized for that. And guards are so clever, they throw their arm back and then it's a foul." The Sixers started Game 1 with Danny Green defending Young. "The tough part as a defender, you want to kind of feel the guy and get into his body when you're going over screens," Green said on Monday.
"When you're not able to get into his body, because he's obviously going to draw contact, draw fouls, stop, jump backwards or whatever he does to get the foul, you have to play off him more. Which allows him to run more freely. "So it's tougher for anybody to guard anybody that way."