I get why Ben Simmons was named 2017-2018 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Simmons was part of what was perhaps the biggest success stories of the NBA last season. He and Joel Embiid led the Philadelphia 76ers to over 50 wins and a 3-seed in the NBA Playoffs. He led all rookies in rebounding and assists, was third in scoring. And it’s not everyday that you would see a 6’10” dude essentially play the point.
But if anyone TRULY paid any attention to the NBA this past season, he/she would know that Donovan Mitchell made more of an impact than Simmons.
Mitchell was a fringe lottery pick (13th) in the 2017 draft, whose rights were traded on draft night (from the Denver Nuggets to the Utah Jazz). In fact, not much (if anything) was expected of him. And he was going to be balling in Salt Lake City, of all places.
Then something funny happened.
Mitchell led all rookies in scoring. He was responsible for leading the Jazz – who were supposed to stink to high heaven after losing Gordon Hayward in free agency to the Boston Celtics – to not only a playoff berth, but made his star known in the postseason.
His play vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round was the stuff of legends. And while his Jazz fell to the Houston Rockets in the second round, Mitchell let it be known that he is a future star in the NBA.
And while cats like Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and Lauri Markkanen were worthy consideration (especially Tatum), I felt that Mitchell had more of an impact than the other rookies, even Simmons. Hell, I thought the voting would be a lot closer than it actually was.
I’ll give Simmons this: dude is EXTREMELY savage. And I am looking forward to more back-and-forth between him and Mitchell for years to come…