Rookies Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz and Ben Simmons of the 76ers have helped lead their teams to the second-round of the playoffs. Both teams would not be in that position without those two guys.
Mitchell had 38 points in the Jazz close out game against the Thunder, while Simmons became the first rookie since Magic Johnson to record a triple-double in the playoffs as the 76ers beat the Heat in 5.
The big question with Mitchell and Simmons is who should be Rookie of the Year. Simmons is a marvel with the ball and affects the game in so many different ways. He leads all rookies in rebounds and assists; also, Simmons was third amongst rookies in points.
Regarding Mitchell, he leads all rookies in points and set the rookie record for 3-pointers made.
Both could easily be Rookie of the Year, but former NBA player Mo Evans is going with Mitchell:
“It’s really a tough call because both guys, as you said, deserve it, and I think to Donovan Mitchell’s credit, he’s a true rookie, and he’s had a stellar year,” Evans told the Go4it podcast. “He’s impacted his team greatly, and I love how he plays with such aggressiveness and super talented. And then with Ben Simmons, he’s really turned the corner significantly after coming back from injury, and barely playing last year, not getting to play at all. And coming back from injury, Philly would not be who they are without him as well. I would go with Donovan Mitchell just because he’s a true rookie.”
Evans believed Simmons had an advantage over Mitchell coming into this season. Here’s why:
He’s(Simmons) been able to sit back watch and be around the game at this level for an additional season, and that’s a long time,” Evans said. “You learn about basketball being around these great players, and that’s why his comfort level is so much greater than a “rookie” player, but I think that you can’t go wrong with either one of those guy winning that award.”
I think you can’t wrong with Mitchell or Simmons. We might get a repeat of the 1994-95 season when Grant Hill and Jason Kidd shared the award, but if it were up to me, I’m going with Simmons because of the multiple ways he can impact the game.