Devine: Ben Simmons is the NBA’s Rookie of the Year

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The NBA’s Rookie of the Year award has narrowed itself down to two worthy candidates.

Two candidates who are now in a war of trash talk.

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz are the favorites to take home the award this year, and the reasons are clear.

Mitchell led all rookies in scoring and became the first rookie to be a top scorer on a playoff team since Carmelo Anthony in 2003-2004 with the Denver Nuggets. Mitchell averaged over 20 points per game and was essential to Utah’s offense to the point that their trip to the postseason really leaned on every shot that he took.

Simmons has been unbelievable in his first year on the court. Almost averaging a triple-double, Simmons’ passing, rebounding and ability to drive to the hoop is something only equaled to that of LeBron James or Russell Westbrook. In just his first season, Simmons has already climbed to second place in 76ers franchise history in triple-doubles with 12. Wilt Chamberlain tops that list with 78.

The argument for why each player deserves the award is without question. But many feel that Simmons can’t qualify for the award because he “isn’t a rookie.”

Simmons missed all of last season after suffering a Jones fracture in his foot during training camp. Although he was around the team all of last season, he never played. When asked who should win the award, Simmons was confident in himself.

“Me. One hundred percent.”  

When asked who else stood out to contend for the award, Simmons responded sternly.

“None.”

Mitchell responded with the posting of memes firing back at Simmons, even showing up to a game wearing a sweatshirt with the dictionary definition of “rookie” on the front, reading:

“An athlete, playing his or her first season as a member of a professional sports team.”

Simmons responded saying that if a definition is the only comeback Mitchell has, then he’s in good shape.

“There’s a rule in the NBA for a reason,” Simmons said.

Let us not forget that Blake Griffin won the Rookie of the Year award in 2011 after missing what would have been his original rookie year in 2010.

All bias aside, Simmons is hands down the most deserving of the award. Playing in his first season (which makes him a rookie by definition) following a serious foot injury, Simmons has commanded the court, putting up numbers only mirrored by greats like Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

Simmons has also outplayed the likes of the aforementioned LeBron James and Russell Westbrook in head-to-head competitions this season, even getting love and respect from the King himself, who called Simmons “The Prince.”

Nobody gets that kind of high praise from the best in the world and DOESN’T win Rookie of the Year.

Let us not forget that Joel Embiid and Dario Saric were both snubbed for the award last season as Malcolm Brogdon of the Bucks took it home. Granted, Embiid only played 31 games last year, but his numbers were on pace to be legendary.

It’s time the process in Philly paid off with some kind of personal accolade for one of its building block players.

Simmons is the deserving candidate. Nothing against the talent of Donovan Mitchell, but Simmons is the better choice. He is the right choice. Besides, he’s a Prince.

And what’s a Prince without his crown?

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